FORD CITY (KDKA) — Heavy rains fell on the area Wednesday afternoon causing severe flooding in some parts of the area, including Armstrong and Westmoreland counties. There are reports of flooding problems throughout those counties.
The storms started around 1:30 p.m. and left behind a big watery mess in places like Apollo, Vandergrift and Ford City.
Several roads had to be closed, and basements and businesses were also flooded.
In Armstrong County along Dime Road in Parks Township, heavy rains didn’t leave anyone out on either side of the road.
Mark Camison’s brother’s home is the closest to the creek, and the damage speaks for itself.
A heavily-flooded basement, a now broken down shed and more water to pump out than can even be measured.
It’s an overwhelming task, and for everyone affected an overwhelming amount of loss.
Shannon Majercik who had her basement flooded describes what’s lost, “clothes, shoes, pictures, important papers… just everything.”
Next-door neighbor Renee Garcia who lost her hot water tank, washer and dryer is now cleaning up the mess.
“They said they can’t get it to where we can squeegee it,” Garcia said. “Just gonna try to get it out to where we can maybe get some stuff out. Just keep an eye out, hope it doesn’t rain again.”
In Apollo, flood waters rose around homes and vehicles, and one woman was able to escape from her car just before it flooded at the intersection of 11th Street and Warren Avenue.
Meanwhile, in Ford City, resident Ken Bowers says his basement flooded once again.
“Every time we get a little bit of a storm, this creek backs up my driveway because everybody’s debris floats down the creek. My basement floods; I have to replace washers and dryers, appliances,” said Bowers. “The basement has about two feet of water in it and my dryer shorted out.”
In Westmoreland County, crews will be out on Thursday assessing damage. The flooding was mainly caused by fast-rising waters in creeks that overflowed and clogged drains.
The small creek that runs along Pine Run Road in Washington Township overflowed its banks causing a big watery mess in the Meadows mobile home park. It’s not the first time it has happened, but neighbors say that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
“I was a little nervous, a little scared,” said Jennifer Battagila. “I really wasn’t expecting all of the water and stuff until I looked out a little bit before three o’clock, I came out and looked and just the rain was nonstop.”
“I was on my way home from work actually, and as I was driving down the road I could actually see over here, [and] I was like, ‘Whoa!’” added Brian Battagila.
The good news, there were no reports of fatalities or serious injuries in the flooding. But anyone who has been through something like this knows it leaves a lasting impression.
“The water was just rushing through under the bridges and going so fast, I mean it was scary,” Gini Baustert.
High water was also reported on Roseytown Road behind the state police barracks in Westmoreland County.
Also, Dan Stevens, of the Westmoreland County Emergency Services, said he was aware of at least eight water rescues.
The storms also prompted the evacuation of Edgewood Elementary School after a smoke stack was struck by lightning.
Workers found a crack and the students were evacuated and taken to the high school as a safety precaution.
“It looks as though it’s fine, but [there] definitely was a large crack and a hole in it; and as a matter of safety, just as precaution, we decided to evacuate the building until it could be evaluated by an engineer and architect,” said Alan Johnson, the acting superintendent of Woodland Hills Schools.
A building architect did come out to the school and engineers are making emergency repairs.
Students were sent home at their normal time, and classes will run on a normal schedule Thursday.