5 Key Tips to Surviving Winter in Pittsburgh

In the world of “Game of Thrones,” the phrase “Winter is Coming” symbolizes vigilance and preparedness for the threat of a long, biting season. In Pittsburgh, it means the same thing — but with more lawn chairs in the street.

photo via flickr creative commons

Although a lawn chair might not help you to keep your parking space — it’s technically an illegal, if time-honored, tradition — this valuable guide will help keep you headache-free with a clear driveway and a better rapport with Old Man Winter.

How much snow should we expect?
While winter will be warmer than normal this year, the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts the coldest periods to come in early-to-mid-January, from late January to early February and in late February, with temperatures averaging 34 degrees in January and 33 in February. This month will be mostly rainy, with snow arriving around Dec. 10 and temperatures averaging 45 degrees. KDKA Chief Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla is forecasting about 11 inches of snow, about the average, in December, nearly 14 inches in January, above average, and about the normal of 10 inches in February. 

What should I do when it snows?
Pittsburgh road-clearing crews must clear the streets within 24-48 hours of a storm. If you live in the city and your street is not clear after that time, call 311 and request to have your street cleared. If you live in a community outside Pittsburgh, call your municipal office or department of public works. If you have a physical disability or are age 60 or older, contact Pittsburgh Snow Angels at 412/475-2459 for assistance in clearing your sidewalk or driveway.

What should I do if it snows and I have to take a bus?
If it snows at night, the Port Authority of Allegheny County posts changes to its bus schedule on Twitter (@PGHtransit) and its website (portauthority.org) before the morning rush. You also may call the customer service line at 412/442-2000. Port Authority also recommends that riders walk to a main road if side roads are inaccessible to buses. Some third-party apps such as Busgazer and TransitTimes use Port Authority’s real-time data for transit schedules, route information and bus tracking. Riders also should check Port Authority’s Twitter for delays on the light-rail “T” lines.

What should I do if it snows and I need to travel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike?
Call 511 to hear traffic updates or go to 511pa.com and look at traffic conditions online. You also can follow PennDOT’s Southwest, Pa. Twitter account (@511PAPittsburgh) for updates.