HARMONY BOROUGH (KDKA) — One of the hardest hit areas by Tuesday’s severe weather is Butler County.
According to the county’s emergency officials, there is widespread damage and dangerous flash flooding from Harmony Borough to Zelienople to Renfrew to Forward and Jackson Townships and Evans City.
WATCH: NewsChopper 2 Over Butler County Flooding —
There is severe flooding in Harmony Borough where the Connoquenessing Creek has overflowed its banks. Porter Cove Road saw some of the worst flooding. The closing of Hartmann Road is causing issues for drivers trying to access Seneca Valley schools.
Kent Addams, the owner of Addams Autocycle Collision had to work quickly as the storms moved in.
“My son and I just started husting and setting everything up high that might get wet or destroyed,” he said. “Bikes and customer cars and all of our equipment.”
However, it was slow at first, but then it came fast.
“In an hour or 45 minutes. At first it was leaking in a little bit, and then all of a sudden ‘woosh!’ one of my garage door brackets broke loose and the pressure just came roaring through,” he said.
His advance work saved most of what’s important to them, Addams added.
Across the street, Dave MaGill was watching the water approaching the lumber yard that’s been his family for 60 years.
“Then it just let loose and it was a deluge,” MaGill said.
Despite the water being knee-deep, Dave’s staff was cleaning up and filling orders at the same time. They lost some drywall and molding, but the lumber was mostly saved.
“Maybe the bottom two layers, I think we’re lucky there,” he said.
There was no such luck for Chin-Hwa Wacker Shindledecker, who’s home became an island and the creek became an unwelcome visitor inside. Friends came to help haul out what she could salvage.
She’s not sure what’s next.
“Life’s been rough, but God’s always been good to me, I’ve got through a lot of storms in my life,” she said. “I’m in tears, but what can I do? The car still runs.”
Swift water rescue teams are out helping to evacuate some people from their flooded-out homes. Other residents, officials say, have chosen to shelter-in-place on upper floors of their homes.
Tina Wolney evacuated her house.
“Just got out, got the dog out, and got my important papers out, put some things up and that’s it,” said Wolney.
Meanwhile, her neighbor, Shirley Lauth, chose to stay behind even with three to four feet of water along the inside and outside of her house..
“It was very fast, still very fast, very swift. And I’ve never seen it go that fast either,” said Shirley Lauth, who chose not to evacuate.
KDKA’s Lindsay Ward Reports:
Not too far away, a state of emergency has been declared in Zelienople.
Hansen Avenue was one of many streets underwater during Tuesday’s evening commute.
Between Zelienople and Evans City, PA we experienced 3 hour rainfall rates that would be expected to return every 60 to 100 years. So what to does that mean? It means there is about 1% to 6 % chance that rainfall like this (in a 3 hour period) could occur during a given year. pic.twitter.com/OcoxNzSEQl
— NWS Pittsburgh (@NWSPittsburgh) May 29, 2019
“It’s all the way down every street, it’s flooded like this, I’ve never seen a downpour that size,” said Justin Bellis, a Butler County resident.
Part of Gudekunst Road collapsed overnight, leaving the road impassable.
All residents are asked to avoid traveling on these roads too:
- Main Street
- East Beaver Street
- West Beaver Street
- Jefferson Street
- Clay Street
- West New Castle
A small river formed in the backyard of a home in Zelienople. Amanda Frankenstein says she has lived at the home for 25 years.
Her family also owns Frankenstein Builders Supply. They spent most of the evening pushing water out of their facility that had several inches of water.
“We don’t want it coming into our basement. It’s very sad, it’s not something you’d like to see every day and when it does happen it’s a shame,” said Frankenstein.
Police urge anyone with an emergency to call 911 immediately.