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Pittsburgh preparing for Arctic blast predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday

Bob Bauder
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Pittsburgh is preparing for below zero temperatures in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Pittsburgh is gearing for a blast of Arctic cold this week by opening warming centers and having emergency personnel ready to contend with weather-related problems.

Pittsburgh will extend hours of city senior centers and make recreation centers available for residents to escape frigid temperatures. Tim McNulty, spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto, said some senior centers would be open until 9 p.m. The city will release further details Tuesday.

First responders will be available to assist the homeless people, according to Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich.

“Depending on who you listen to, nighttime lows will be between 5 and 10 below with wind chills 25 to 35 below,” he said. “Needless to say we’re taking the necessary precautions.”

He urged residents to avoid walking across ice-covered rivers and streams and to remain inside vehicles and call for assistance should they break down on highways. Two men were killed Saturday while tending to a stalled car on the Parkway East after another vehicle struck the car that had broken down.

Hissrich reminded residents that it is illegal to keep pets outside in extreme cold. The city’s Animal Care and Control will take pets left outside at night to an animal shelter, he said.

“If there is no owner we are not going to allow the animal to be out overnight,” Hissrich said.

Fire Chief Darryl Jones said the biggest concern is exposure.

“People over estimate their capabilities and under estimate the risk, especially senior citizens,” he said. “Any skin exposed in negative temperatures you’re at risk to having some serious soft tissue injuries, frost bite and just plain misery when you’re out in this cold.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.