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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A state of emergency has been declared in Allegheny County after a historic rainfall caused damage throughout the region.
This is the fourth time so far this year that Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald declared a countywide emergency.
Landslides and flooding continue to cause problems across the county.
No damage estimates are available right now, as the main emphasis is on starting clean-up operations. Officials say right now, the worst appears to be over.
“There is still some concern about the rise particularly of the Monongahela and the Youghiogheny. You may have seen or heard, there’s quite a bit of a rise that’s impacting Westmoreland County as it borders Allegheny County in the Sutersville area, so again, a lot of our crews are helping assist with that as well,” Allegheny County Chief of Emergency Services Matt Brown said.
No fatalities have been reported so far, and there has been no major damage to infrastructure in the area.
Watch Bob Allen’s report —
One of the hardest hit areas in Elizabeth.
Flood waters from the Youghiogheny River invaded an Elizabeth Township neighborhood, cutting off streets and surrounding homes.
Tom Kressler’s house was already surrounded by water and it was starting to move into his living room.
“I haven’t been downstairs for a while, but [there’s] probably about three or four inches,” he said.
Ben Desmond, an Elizabeth Township volunteer firefighter, has been out helping people all night. Now his house is flooded.
“My entire basement, up to my first floor, is water,” he said. “But, you know what, my wife’s not hurt. My pets are safe.”
In addition to high water surrounding all the homes, the swimming pool is buried under water, and the fire hall across the street has four or five feet of water inside.
Fire Captain Mike Hansen says just about every house in low-lying areas is affected.
“Just in our small area, we probably got 20 [houses],” Hansen said.
He’s waiting patiently for the water to go down and he hopes it won’t be as bad as the flood in 1996.
“Usually within a day or two, it will go down, once it stops raining,” Hansen said.
Watch Rick Dayton’s report —
Following a weekend of heavy rains, many families spent their Monday pumping water out of their flooded basements, including in Shaler Township.
There were a lot of issues for a number of homes off of Butler Plank Road.
Gravity has been their biggest enemy as all the rainwater ran off the road and down into their yards.
From there, it simply had nowhere to go other than into their homes and basements. That is why the fire departments, with their big pumps, worked to bail them out all morning long.
“The issue is the houses sit down below the road, so the water really has nowhere else to go, so it kind of runs into this valley and then works its way into their houses,” said Undercliff VFC Capt. C.J. Gerardi. “So we are trying to remove the water from the yards and then port it over into the creek so we can try to get the water out of their basement for them.”
Due to how much water there is in those yards, crews said it would take them a couple hours to pump all of the water out of the valley, across the road and into Pine Creek.
The Bauerstown Volunteer Fire Department assisted with the operation.
One final note, because of all the rain, there are a number of roads that are closed in the area around Butler Plank Road and Route 8.
Watch David Highfield’s report —
A landslide shut down Liberty Way in Liberty Borough.
Neighbors reported hearing a loud noise as ground, trees, utility poles and power lines came crashing down at about 10:30 a.m. Monday.
Pamela Lust from Port Vue watched the slide and the aftermath: A torrent of muddy water heading toward her home just down the hill.
“Next thing we know, this wall of water and rock and debris just came down the hill here and was rushing, and I was like wow, this is crazy!” Pamela said.
Her husband, Ron, first noticed something was wrong.
“All the wires were shaking, and the poles were shaking. I heard a big crash, came out my back door, and the road was just covered,” he said.
Fortunately, no one was driving on the road when the slide came down.
Duquesne Light was working on the lines, trying to restore power to homes in the area.
Watch Kym Gable’s report —
KDKA’s Kym Gable talked to neighbors in the community of Boston, south of McKeesport. Many already had water in their basements and were using pumps and generators to pump it out. Donna Pecora lives right along the river.
“This is about as bad as 20-some years ago and I don’t remember getting the water in my basement like I do now,” she said. “But [neighbors across the street] really, really got it bad and I feel so terrible because they’re young families.”
Volunteer firefighters from two nearby stations were helping property owners with supplies and manpower.
On the way to Boston, Kym and her photographer witnessed dozens of drivers taking a chance by driving through floodwaters at the intersection of Eden Park Boulevard and Retail Drive in McKeesport. Several cars had to be towed out of the rising water there.