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Continued Rain Creates Hazardous Conditions In Pittsburgh Area

Keith Srakocic
A couple under an umbrella crosses through traffic at an intersection as rain falls along the Boulevard of the Allies.

A recent onslaught of rain will continue sporadically this week in the Pittsburgh region.

The city and some surrounding counties are under a flash flood watch until 2 a.m. Wednesday, due to a hazardous combination of melting snow, steady rainfall, rising rivers and possible icy thunderstorms. 

There's also a flood advisory for the Ohio River at its points in Pittsburgh, which remains in effect until Friday afternoon. The Ohio River has risen to 16.6 feet, and it's expected to rise to 22 feet by late Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. 

River flooding has already closed the Mon Wharf. Pittsburgh National Weather Service hydrologist Lee Hendricks said the flooding could also close the 10th Street Bypass by late Wednesday.

The Total Traffic and Weather Network, TTWN, reported a sinkhole in Morningside and a road collapse on Route 30 in East Pittsburgh. 

Hendricks said the area also could experience more mudslides. 

"Whenever you have the potential for widespread flooding and heavy rains this time of year, you have to anticipate having mudslides," he said.

TTWN has reported a mudslide in the 5000 block of Allegheny River Boulevard in Penn Hills and on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 

Hendricks advised residents to remain alert and cautious through the overnight and into Friday.

"If you near live a stream, particularly a flood-prone stream, you just need to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on things," he said. "Sometimes flooding does occur before we're able to get a warning out to notify people."

He said nighttime is especially hazardous because drivers often do not recognize water coming across an already wet road.

Hendricks noted that Pittsburgh probably won't see steady weather until late spring or early summer. He said conditions will improve Thursday, but the area can expect more showers into Friday. This weekend is expected to be dry and chilly. 

This post was updated at 2:44 p.m. on 04/03/18 with new flood watch information.

Adelina Lancianese is the assistant producer for the NPR Story Lab, a creative studio that fosters newsroom experimentation and incubates new podcasts. At the Story Lab, Lancianese works primarily on investigative, long-form projects, and also helps organize the annual Story Lab Workshop for the development of new independent and Member station podcasts.
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