PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Flash flooding is causing problems all across western Pennsylvania Thursday. From closed highways, to landslides and sinkholes, to dangerous flash flooding, the storms have not let up since they began early in the morning.
Here’s a round-up of the flooding and damage in Allegheny County.
By Amy Wadas and John Shumway
The rain came down in buckets, causing the roads surrounding UPMC St. Margaret Hospital to flood fast.
Ronda Ginther traveled 2.5 hours from St. Marys for an appointment at the hospital and had to park at the Taco Bell across the street because the entrance on Freeport Road was closed.
“That’s the only way I know how to get in,” said Ginther. “I parked all the way behind Giant Eagle.”
KDKA’s Amy Wadas Reports:
Both directions of Freeport Road opened up late Thursday night, reestablishing access to the hospital.
Earlier in the day, Wendy Houston couldn’t get to the parking garage or parking lot. She came to the hospital to visit a patient.
“I live up in the Penn Hills area and Freeport Road was completely blocked. I ended up going to Fox Chapel and hit traffic on that road. A mess everywhere,” said Houston.
Other patients, visitors and staff had to cross the street to get to get hospital. While ambulances and cars couldn’t get to the Freeport entrance, a spokesperson with UPMC said the hospital remained fully staffed and operational, and the ER is open.
The Delafield Avenue entrance was also shut down initially, but that’s back open and ambulances and cars can enter the hospital that way.
Roberta Rudolph has lived on Delafield for over 30 years and snapped this picture.
“I saw a big muddy river flowing down the street and lots of things floating in it and cars trying to get through and it was just a mess,” said Rudolph.
Patients planning on coming to the hospital for an outpatient procedure may end up getting a call that their appointment is delayed or rescheduled.
A UPMC spokesperson said visitors and patients are asked to stay at St. Margaret hospital once they arrive. Getting in is okay but no one is leaving right now. 28 to Delafield remains the only way in.
UPMC released this statement:
“Due to flooding, police have closed Freeport Road and Brilliant Ave., limiting access to UPMC St. Margaret. The hospital remains fully staffed and operational. The emergency department remains open. Emergency Medical Services have ambulance access to the hospital via Delafield Ave. Patients with scheduled outpatient procedures are being notified as some services may be delayed or rescheduled.”
Nearby, the Fox Chapel Racquet Club was also flooded.
The club’s swimming pool area was flooded last year around this same time of year. But this time, there was no flooding from the nearby creek. Instead, the flooding was caused by the drainage system that backed up and overflowed into the pool.
By Meghan Schiller
The Borough of Millvale blasted the emergency siren several times Thursday morning to warn residents about flooding roads, rushing waters and debris.
One family along Seavey Road experienced a bizarre wake-up call after a fun-night under the stars.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Reports:
“They [the couple’s children] wanted to sleep outside last night, and we were like ‘Yeah, we’ll sleep outside!’” said Carla Hargenrader, Millvale resident. “We didn’t realize we’d wake up to a flood!”
Hargenrader captured cell phone video after flood waters filled her streets and firefighters began to evacuate residents.
She said the Millvale firefighter reportedly knocked on her front door, but since her family was in the front yard inside a tent, she didn’t hear it.
The firefighter later realized they were inside the large tent, but surrounded by water.
“When the firefighter asked if anyone was in there we said, ‘Yeah, we’re in here!’ and he said, ‘You’re sleeping through a flood right now!’”
Emergency crews blocked off Seavey Road as the waters dragged branches and logs down the hill onto Evergreen Road.
“We probably had about 10-11 calls in about an hour,” said Chief Karl Cavanaugh, Millvale Fire Department.
Chief Cavanaugh said he was proud of his firefighter who alerted the family and helped the two adults, 5-year-old, 8-year-old, 15-month-old and 2 dogs to safety.
“It was literally coming down through our yard coming underneath the tent and down by the house,” said Hargenrader.
The chief brought out inflatable boats in case they needed to do swift water rescues, and told KDKA they’d be on standby throughout the day.
“We are hearing there may be major storms later so we are going to go back and regroup and come up with a plan for later and if we have to call the swift water teams in early we will,” said Chief Cavanaugh.
The Borough of Millvale is asking for residents to expect flooded streets and to try to remain inside if possible. If residents need to evacuate, the borough is asking for them to go to the community center on Lincoln Avenue.
The flooding turned the inbound lanes of Route 28 between the 31st and 40th Street Bridges into a bathtub.
KDKA’s Paul Martino Reports:
Once the water receded, PennDOT workers came in to clean up the muddy mess and try to unclog the drains. Traffic became backed up for miles.
The same area flooding back in May.
“There is a lot of filth and debris that comes from Troy Hill and runs down where the old Industrial Park is. … It is silting up the inlets down there and going over top the barriers. … They stopped the inlets from getting clogged, but now the water is going around the barrier, onto the roadway,” said Cheryl Moon-Sirianni of PennDOT District 11.
Along McKnight Road, torrential rains caused a sinkhole to open up on the road between the Bed, Bath and Beyond store and the Chick-fil-A. Further down the busy roadway, flooding was reported by the Sports Clips Haircuts.
A State of Emergency has been declared in O’Hara Township because of the flooding. Click here for the developing details.
OTHER FLOODING REPORTS
Flooding was reported early this morning on the Parkway North. The worst area is near the Mount Nebo Road exit. Water ponded on the road, causing cars to hydroplane. One lane in the northbound direction is blocked off in that area.
The automatic flood gates were lowered on Washington Boulevard in Highland Park. The gates came down around 8:30 a.m. when two vehicles stalled as waters flowed onto the road. Washington Boulevard remains closed to traffic.
In Penn Hills, Rodi Road was flooded. KDKA’s Rich Walsh reports a woman became stuck in a van.
Over in Pitcairn, Wall Avenue was restricted down to one lane due to a partial collapse of the road.
The flooding is also causing problems with Port Authority bus routes. KDKA has learned flooding, primarily in areas north of the city, have several bus routes taking detours.
Even though the rain has temporarily stopped downtown, several bus routes remain affected by flooding and other weather-related issues countywide. We suggest following @PghTransitAlert and @PghTransitCare for up-to-date notifications about detours and alerts.
— Port Authority PGH (@PGHtransit) July 11, 2019
Several routes in Sharpsburg, Millvale and the Oakland flyer are affected. Be sure to check with the Port Authority to see if your route is affected.
PENNDOT’S LATEST ROAD CLOSURES & RESTRICTIONS
Allegheny County (10:30 p.m. Update)
- Route 1003 (Kittanning Pike) between Kirkwood Drive and Route 28 in O’Hara Township is closed to traffic;
- A single-lane of traffic is open on southbound Route 28 between the Harmar (Exit 11) and RIDC Drive (Exit 10) interchanges in Harmar Township;
- Route 3109 (University Boulevard) southbound lane restriction between Stoops Ferry Road and Robert Morris University in Moon Township;
- Route 837 (East Carson Street) between the Glenwood Bridge and Becks Run Road in Baldwin Borough is closed to traffic;
- Route 1016 (Log Cabin Road) between Little Deer Creek Road and Butler Logan Road in Indiana and Frazer Townships is closed to traffic;
- Single-lane alternating traffic on Route 4002 (Geyer Road) between Mt. Troy Road and Babcock Boulevard in Reserve and Shaler townships;
- Route 2046 (Streets Run Road) in Baldwin Borough and the City of Pittsburgh is closed to traffic;
- Route 4032 (Fern Hollow Road) in Sewickley Hills Borough closed to traffic;
- Route 130 (Sandy Creek Road) the Municipality of Penn Hills is closed to traffic; and
- Route 3094 (Bocktown Road) between Route 51 and Beaver County in Crescent Township is closed to traffic.