PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Anytime there’s sustained, potentially heavy rain, it is cause for concern in flood-prone communities.

Two such communities in our area have learned valuable lessons the hard way, and have taken steps to prepare for what Sandy could bring.

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Eight years ago in September, the people of Carnegie learned what they were made of when Chartiers Creek breeched its banks driven by Hurricane Ivan, destroying homes and businesses.

“We are as prepared as we can be,” said Chief Jeff Harbin, of the Carnegie Police Department. “Right now, we’re just at the mercy of Mother Nature.”

But Chartiers Creek, and it’s feeders, are now dredged and clear of debris.

Public Works trucks were loading up chainsaws and temporary stop signs in case of power outages due to Superstorm Sandy.

They were also giving special attention to catch basins that plugged up and swamped Carnegie before.

George Beck lives on Diamond Alley, which was badly flooded last time around.

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“I check the creeks, see how high the creeks are,” he said. “If I can see them from the road, I know something’s wrong. People are calling to make sure that we’re on top of things.”

Hurricane Ivan taught the people of Millvale a few lessons, too.

“But we’re not looking for some of the heavy downpours that were associated with Ivan,” said Jim Machajewski, Millvale’s emergency management coordinator.

But Millvale Emergency Management and police are monitoring Girty’s Run around the clock.

Also, Public Works is assessing water levels and storm sewers. The Army Corps of Engineers has also done a lot of work.

“Dredged the creek, clean it out, and bring it back to the proper levels – where it was prior to Ivan,” said Machajewski.

Even so, on Bureleine Street, where the creek runs through backyards, they’re not taking chances.

“Bring your stuff up from the basement, and get your stuff from the first floor and put it upstairs,” said resident Michelle Gibson.

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