PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Strong storms brought soaking rains, lightning, high winds and even some hail to the western Pennsylvania region Thursday.

Isolated showers and storms prompted severe weather alerts throughout the afternoon and evening, and even included a tornado warning in Fayette County.

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Watch Jon Burnett’s Forecast:

The National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning late Thursday for Allegheny County until 2:30 a.m. Friday, as well as for Mercer County through 12:15 a.m.

A Flash Flood Watch is also in effect for much of the area through 8 a.m. Friday.

The counties under the watch include: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Venango, Washington and Westmoreland

“We’re just about to wrap things up,” said KDKA’s Jon Burnett. “I think we’ll see the showers spin their way out of the area all together except for a few spotty sprinkles here and there that will continue really right off and on until dawn.”

 

In the North Hills, Babcock Boulevard had to be shut down late Thursday because the rising waters of Girty’s Run caused flash flooding. The Swift Water Rescue team was called into the area as a precaution. There were about 50 people inside the Monte Cello’s restaurant there, but none of them were hurt or trapped in any way.

KDKA’s David Highfield Reports:

One woman was in her car when the waters rose, but she was able to get out safely, and no other injuries were reported.

The water has receded, and officials are hoping to reopen the road soon, but were still concerned about the fast-moving, high water in Girty’s Run.

Nearby, Thompson Run Road also had to be closed due to a downed tree.

Duquesne Light hoped to have most people’s power restored by midnight, after the storms rolled through during the evening hours, knocking out electricity service to about 3,500 homes across the region.

In Highland Park, a man named Mike was fortunate enough to have a battery-powered work light that strapped to his head.

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KDKA’s David Highfield: “So this is how you were doing things around the house?”

Mike: “Yes, down in the basement looking for a couple of candles and any kind of lighting.”

Meanwhile, Rhoda Wright was growing impatient.

“As soon as the first storm hit, then we heard a boom and everything went dark,” said Wright.

She wasn’t sure what she’d do for dinner if the power didn’t come back on.

“We might have to hook up some grills in here and get some dinner,” said Wright with a smile. “But right now we can’t do anything. We just got to wait it out.”

By 10 p.m., Duquesne Light said less than 500 homes remained without power.

Tornado Warnings were issued earlier in the day for Fayette County and parts of West Virginia. They have all since been allowed to expire, but caused some scary moments for residents. A viewer sent us this photo of ominous clouds in Republic, Fayette County.

(Photo Credit: Michele Csonka/Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Michele Csonka/Facebook)

There were other reports of flash flooding across the area. According to the Allegheny County Twitter page, the storms caused water to rise in Leetsdale, Robinson Township, Ohio Township, Ross Township, Scott Township, and across several neighborhoods in the city.

Donaldson Crossroads In McMurray (Photo Credit: Jamie Blayney/Facebook)

Donaldson Crossroads In McMurray (Photo Credit: Jamie Blayney/Facebook)

Also, part of Washington Boulevard, between Negley Run and Allegheny River Boulevard, had to be shut down due to flash flooding during the evening hours.

There were also reports of trees down, one on a car in Jefferson Hills, another falling against a transformer in Churchill, another down at East Street and Madison Avenue on the city’s North Side, Spring Garden Avenue also on the North Side, in Franklin Park. Also, there are reports of downed wires across the region.

The rain should end early Friday morning, and much better weather is on the way for the weekend.

“High pressure digs in and clears the skies, leaving us with a gorgeous weekend, albeit one that will be a little on the warm side,” said Burnett.

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David Highfield