Cold sets record high of 21 for Nov. 18 |

Cold sets record high of 21 for Nov. 18

Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Peter Zappas of Ingram is bundled up against the arctic air on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, while crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge during a mail run for work.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Sam Rossi of Kress Brothers Builders warms up using a heater jet during a roofing job on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, in Mt. Lebanon. “It’s as cold as you-know-what, but we’re sticking it out.”

An arctic blast of frigid air shattered a few temperature records across Western Pennsylvania on Tuesday, sending public works crews scrambling to spread salt on slick roads.

The high at Pittsburgh International Airport in Findlay reached 21 degrees — breaking the record for coldest high temperature for Nov. 18.

The record was of 28 degrees set in 1959, according to the National Weather Service in Moon. The early-morning low of 14 degrees did not break the record low of 8 degrees set in 1959.

Actually, the winds made it feel a lot colder on Tuesday, said Brad Rehak, a National Weather Service meteorologist. The winds at the airport were 15 mph with gusts up to 25, making it feel like “0 to 5 degrees,” Rehak said.

The record-breaking cold at the airport wasn’t confined, however. Record lows of 11 degrees in Dubois and 14 degrees in Wheeling, W.Va., were reported.

Snowfall at the National Weather Service office reached 0.1 of an inch, Rehak said.

“We’re going to be milder (Wednesday in Pittsburgh) at 32 degrees with a chance of light showers in the afternoon,” he said.

Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe recorded a high of 19 degrees and a low of 14. Butler recorded a high of 19 with a low of 12, Rehak said. Neither set records.

Bob Howland, streets and fleet manager for Cranberry, said crews were out in the township as early as 1:30 a.m. Monday to spread de-icing material. Crews didn’t have quite as much work Tuesday morning because precipitation was light.

“Last year we had material on the ground before this. We’ve had early arrivals in the past,” Howland said. “We’re hoping for the best and ready for the worst. Our salt shed is full of material.”

Greensburg Public Works Director Rick Hoyle said he’s hoping snow holds off until crews finish collecting the city’s leaves within the next few weeks. He sent a few trucks to salt icy spots in the town over the past two days.

“We didn’t go out until a little later (Tuesday for the leaf collection) because the leaves can create a frost with the machine, shrinking the opening. The fact that there was rain on them and they’re frozen can cause headaches,” Hoyle said.

Pittsburgh Public Works Director Mike Gable said crews salted city roads on Monday and Tuesday. Gable said there are crews who regularly work overnight, but there was an extra crew to salt in case the weather turned bad.

“We got through OK,” Gable said.

PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said salt crews have been out around-the-clock addressing certain slick spots on area highways.

The cold temperatures were nothing compared to the snow north of I-80. Northwestern Pennsylvania was bracing for nearly 2 feet of snow as arctic air continues to produce lake-effect conditions.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or [email protected].

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