Pittsburgh Area Under Flash Flood Warning; Urban Streams Rising
The aftermath of Hurricane Ida hit southwestern Pennsylvania with a wallop Wednesday morning.
The Pittsburgh office of the National Weather Service implemented a flash flood warning for much of the region, including Allegheny, northwestern Washington, northwestern Westmoreland, southern Armstrong, southeastern Butler, and southeastern Beaver counties, until 12:15 p.m.
The NWS issued an emergency alert advising against travel “unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.” The weather service also warned that urban streams were rapidly rising.
‼️ Several of the urban streams across Allegheny and nearby counties are rising rapidly. If you live near Girty's Run, Pine Creek (Etna), or any small stream... please remain aware of your surroundings and have a plan in the case the streams rise out of their banks. pic.twitter.com/uwOHCITksw— NWS Pittsburgh (@NWSPittsburgh) September 1, 2021
Roads were flooded or blocked by downed trees across the area. PennDOT reported that portions of Route 51 and Route 50 were closed, as well as Freeport Road in Blawnox.
Pittsburgh Public Safety reported that “numerous water rescues are being conducted” and that the flood gates on Washington Boulevard — always a dangerous spot during severe wet weather — were activated.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warned in a press release that the Point was forecast to flood Thursday afternoon and that "during this high-water event, the Monongahela Wharf, 10th Street bypass and parkway 'bathtub' are anticipated to be out of service from Wednesday through Friday afternoon."
The Army Corp is also performing controlled releases at multiple reservoirs in the area to mitigate flooding.
Duquesne Light is reporting that more than 800 people are without power.
Emergency officials rushed to evacuate about 3,000 people below a dam near Johnstown on Wednesday after hours of heavy rains triggered plans to ensure the safety of downstream residents.
Cambria County emergency management director and 911 center head Art Martynuska said the water level at the Wilmore dam reached the height that required evacuation. The Hinckston Run Dam was also being monitored and may require evacuation, Martynuska said.
Wilmore dam “has reached the stage where the emergency action plan has called for us to mandate an evacuation in the inundation areas downstream from the dam,” Martynuska said. Both dams are a few miles from Johnstown.
Evacuees were being taken to a nearby high school with help from the Red Cross, National Guard, local transit authority and school transportation services.
There have also been other minor evacuations in Cambria County, Martynuska said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.