Dangerous cold expected in area today

The forecast for today is a daunting one.

Temperatures are expected to top out in the single digits, with dangerous wind chills possibly as low as 30 degrees below zero.

Entities from city government to community centers to universities took steps Monday to prevent exposures.

The City of Warren Municipal Building will be closed until 10 a.m., according to Executive Secretary Teena Leary. “Shortly before 10 a.m. it will be determined whether the building will open for the remainder of the day. This decision was made by the city manager based on the extremely cold temperatures that are predicted and the ability of the building’s heating system to maintain an adequate temperature.”

The Allegheny Community Center, including the Bistro, will be closed Tuesday due to cold weather. ACC officials said the center is expected to be open through the rest of the week.

Edinboro University classes are shut down in both Erie and Meadville.

Officials at the Warren County School District did not have to make a determination on school because students already have Tuesday off for professional development.

Roads

While there has not been an exceptional amount of snowfall, the persistent bitter cold of the 2013-2014 winter has put a strain on local resources.

In Warren County, PennDOT has spent 72 percent of its winter allocation so far, according to Roadway Program Coordinator Bill Kulinski.

“We use a mixture of anti-skid, rock salt and brine to treat our roadways,” Kulinski said. “We monitor our materials and replenish our stockpiles as needed. The more we use the closer we monitor our material.”

As winter goes on, the department allows its stockpiles to shrink, but not disappear. “We don’t let them get completely depleted in case we get a late storm in the spring or an early one in the fall,” Kulinski said. “I would say we have enough material on hand to get us through this winter if needed, but we will order more.”

PennDOT has used more than 9,000 tons of anti-skid material so far this winter. That compares to about 11,000 tons for all of last winter.

Officials do not expect to have any trouble meeting the demand for the material as there is another 4,138 tons at county sheds and the material is purchased from local providers, according to Kulinski.

Salt and salt brine usage is not exceptional. Some of that is due to the low temperatures; those materials are not effective at single-digit temperatures.

The department has applied about 600,000 gallons of salt brine and 3,486 tons of rock salt. On hand, there is a little over 3,000 tons of rock salt and enough salt for almost 500,000 more gallons of brine. Kulinski said the department does not have problems with delivery of salt as needed.

The five-year average rock salt usage is 4,463 tons. The department used an exception amount of salt last year – 6,497 tons.

“Snow removal equipment has not been an issue,” Maintenance Manager Wes Hess said. “The garage personnel are doing an excellent job turning the trucks around after completing necessary repair.”

The department has added fuel treatments to its diesel equipment.

“The winter has demanded a lot from our people,” Hess said. “Twelve-hour days seven days a week has been the most recent asked of them and again they responded as needed.”