PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Summer storms drenched the region Friday afternoon, bringing heavy rain and high winds that brought down trees, poles and wires and knocked out power for thousands.
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was in effect for much of the day for western Pennsylvania, but was allowed to expire at 9 p.m.
KDKA Chief Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla says showers are wrapping up in Fayette County, and by midnight the wet weather should be over.
“Showers moving out in the next 90 minutes, then overnight tonight we’ll see patchy clouds,” said Verszyla. “Clouds giving way to sunshine [Saturday], a breezy, refreshing air mass arrives, low 70s for highs [Saturday] and staying comfortable through Sunday.”
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The first round of storms that pushed through in the afternoon caused some significant damage in parts of the area.
The worst may have been in Bellevue. That’s where a massive tree was uprooted along Cliff Avenue. It brought down three utility poles and a bunch power lines across the street on Meade Avenue.
“Approximately 3 o’clock, we were dispatched by the Bellevue Borough Police. A tree fell and took down three telephone poles and a bunch of power lines on the other side of it,” said Todd Giammatteo, Bellevue’s superintendent of Public Works. “Our crews barricaded everything off and made sure the residents stayed safe. Bellevue Fire Department is over on the other side making sure the residents stay safe over there.”
KDKA’s Bob Allen Reports:
No injuries were reported, but power was knocked out to the area. Duquesne Light crews and a tree cutting service were brought in to clean up at the scene.
The blackout wasn’t going to put a damper on a bachelorette party in the Meade Street home of a friend of the bride-to-be, who’s in Pittsburgh from Medina, Ohio.
“It’s a crazy afternoon, but being around your best friends, and helping to celebrate with one of your best friends is a pleasure, even with some of the adversity that we’re having to face,” said Jessica Toocheck, the bride-to-be.
A short distance down the hill, the power failure forced several gas stations to close on Ohio River Boulevard, and the neighborhood McDonald’s had to shut its doors early.
There were power outages all across the area, not just in Bellevue. At 9:40 p.m. Friday, Duquesne Light was reporting 3,500 customers still without power; and at 11 p.m., West Penn Power had about 4,000 people still in the dark.
That’s down from more than 38,000 at the height of the storms.
The Mall at Robinson had to close for the night due to an outage. All stores but Macy’s and JCPenney’s were shut down. Officials say the mall will reopen at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Mall at Robinson Closed:
Elsewhere in the area, a tree came down in Bakerstown that just missed hitting a van decorated in Steelers black and gold.
In the city, there was also a downed tree in Shadyside. It was blocking the intersection at Ellsworth and Ivy Streets.
There were also reports of downed trees and wires in Gibsonia, Dravosburg, Penn Hills, West Deer and Pleasant Hills. Also, a transformer caught fire in Springdale.