PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon could bring heavy rains to western Pennsylvania this weekend.
As a result, the City of Pittsburgh is taking some steps now to make sure we don’t see serious flooding later.
“Public Works is preparing right now with cleaning a lot of basins off to allow the basins to take as much water as possible,” Pittsburgh Public Works Director Mike Gable said.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas reports —
This is just one of many preliminary steps Gable said the city is taking in case things start to get out of control.
“We have our forestry crews on alert, and we are also going to ramp up our weekend crews to have better coverage around the city,” Gable said.
Gable said a crew will be staffed at each city division and working around the clock all weekend long. The city encourages the public to do what they can to help.
“I think they know the areas prone to flooding and should avoid those areas,” Gable said.
Those flood-prone areas include Streets Run Road, Washington Boulevard and Sam Mill Run Boulevard.
“I think we will have barricades in some of those locations in case Public Safety is there they would be able to put them up, but we will be aware of those locations and try to get to them as quick as possible,” Gable said.
Emergency responders are also preparing for an influx of emergency calls.
If you run into any problem areas and want to report them, city officials ask that you call either 911, or its 311 response line.
Also, when it comes to the flood gates on Washington Boulevard, Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said they’re going to worry about fixing them later.
“Before it was the case that police officers would back up the flood gates, but now we don’t have the faith that we had in that system, so it’s basically the gates will back up the police officers,” said Hissrich.
The barricades now rest nearby along Washington Boulevard, and Hissrich said officers will be stationed there in advance of the storm. Hissrich also said crews of four or five will be equipped with inflatable boats, rafts and ladders.
“Each police, fire and EMS have a flood response unit and we will start with one Saturday evening to increase to about two early Sunday morning to three later Sunday just in case,” said Hissrich.
The bullseye of the storm rests on Beaver and Butler Counties as of Friday afternoon. Beaver County dispatchers want the public to prepare for potential power outages.
“We tell our residents they should be prepared for 24-48 hours without power depending on how widespread this may be,” said Eric Brewer, director of Beaver County Emergency Services.
He said they will be bringing in extra crews and they could work up to 16-hour shifts. The dispatchers normally work 10 hour shifts on a “normal day.” Brewer also said they’re expecting hundreds of extra calls.