PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Flood Watch is now in effect as heavy rains and storms are expected to move into the area Thursday.
But according to the National Weather Service, a Flash Flood Watch that went into effect Wednesday evening at 11 p.m. was cancelled around 4:15 a.m. Thursday for east central Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, because the heaviest rain moved south of the area.
“Some of these thunderstorms, if we watch the trajectory is going to be carried to southeastern Ohio and on toward West Virginia. That’s not to say we couldn’t see a thunderstorm locally here late tonight or [Thursday] morning,” said KDKA-TV Chief Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla. “But I think our chief concern, at least initially moving forward, is going to be for some potentially heavy downpours in spots. Hence the Flash Flood Watch for part of the area that is now in effect and will stay in effect until the midday hour [Thursday].”
Watch The Forecast:
Verszyla says we could also see some gusty winds move through the area.
“We can expect a heavy downpour of rain in a short period of time, potentially causing flooding issues, especially along streams and creeks and perhaps ponding of water along roadways as well,” he said. “Downpours and maybe some gusty winds in spots late tonight and into [Thursday] morning, and then drying in the afternoon, and a warm, dry weekend will follow.”
Flood-prone areas spent Wednesday preparing for the potential of high waters.
After flooding last week in Fayette County, Uniontown residents and business owners are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
Last Friday, Bill Morris’ Liberty Bell Antiques store was flooded.
“There wasn’t much that you could do, not much that you could say, just watch it go,” said Morris.
It is now 15,000-feet of ruin and six-and-a-half feet of water in a business that took five years to build.
“In five minutes it was gone,” Morris said.
They pumped 150,000 gallons of water out of the building. Now, there’s a quarter of a million dollars in damage with little insurance. And with heavy rains in the forecast again overnight, Morris has a whole new set of worries. Thursday could bring the same flooding again, and there’s no place to hide from it.
Over at Neubauer’s Flowers, it’s day six of massive cleanup.
“It was just, it was unbelievable,” said Steve Neubauer, florist.
Decades along Redstone Creek, and it’s never flooded like this before, the damage to Neubauer’s business is contained to a warehouse. But it’s still significant.
“We’re hoping $50,000 or less, or maybe a little more,” he said.
The biggest concern now is what may happen overnight.
“They tell us we’re in the hundred-year floodplain here, so, I’m hoping we don’t wake up and it’s been a hundred years yet. We’re crossing our fingers,” Neubauer said.
There are a few sandbags, but little else. One first responder says the town is just not set up for much more.
Meanwhile, closer to Pittsburgh, authorities were taking some added precautions as they prepared for the rain overnight.
The Pittsburgh Public Works Department says it has been preparing, for the past few days, the places that are flood-prone. They’ve been clearing out basins, trying to make sure there is somewhere for the excess water to go.
KDKA’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland Reports:
Areas like Saw Mill Run, Streets Run, and of course, the Washington Boulevard are the areas they’ve been focusing on.
Mike Gable, from the city’s Public Works Department, cautions that three inches of rain or more in a short period of time is tough to handle, no matter how well you prepare. But the city has added crews.
Normally there are two crew members, each covering six city zones to respond in case of an emergency, but tonight those crews are doubled and they will bring in more crews if needed.
Of course, if you are out driving, you want to remember the basics, don’t drive through standing water. And if it looks like it’s going to be too high for your car, it probably is.