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Heavy rain floods Pittsburgh-area roads as severe weather rolls in

Heavy rains flood Pittsburgh area
Heavy rains flood Pittsburgh area 04:15

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (KDKA) -- Heavy rain overnight and through Tuesday has led to flooding, overflowing creeks and closing roads across the Pittsburgh area. 

A tornado watch is in place for Allegheny, Beaver, Greene and Washington counties until 2 a.m. Most of the area is under a flash flood warning through Wednesday morning. Parts of West Virginia are also under a flash flood warning until 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday. 

Heavy rain eased up through the afternoon, but now the focus will shift to possible severe storms from mid-afternoon through late Tuesday night. Gusty winds are the biggest concerns with possible hail and tornadoes on top of the ongoing flooding. 

Pittsburgh area hit with heavy flooding 

In Coraopolis, PennDOT crews were checking on Montour Road, which has been down to a single lane since December because of a landslide. Out of an abundance of caution, the road was closed so crews could reassess the landslide. PennDOT gave the OK to reopen the road to one lane. 

Montour Road has been down to one lane since December because of a landslide. Crews checked it on April 2, 2024, following heavy rains.  (Photo: KDKA)

In Ross Township, the water level of Pine Creek flooded the bank. Water was rushing by the Sheetz on Babcock Boulevard, and the gas station's parking lot was filled with puddles. 

"I was on my way home from work at Home Depot at Ross Park Mall and the creek running next to Babcock was as high as the bridges. It was wild," one person said. 

Emmerling Park in Cheswick looked like a river was flowing through the parking lot and picnic area. Floodwaters carried mud, tree logs and debris through the park. 

And in Shaler, Little Pine Creek was flooding. Shaler Township police said many roadways have experienced flooding. If you see water on a roadway, turn around. Don't try to drive through it, police said. 

Videos posted to social media show creeks flooding their banks. One video on X, formerly known as Twitter, showed a creek near the Emsworth Locks and Dams gushing by. 

In Pittsburgh, PennDOT anticipates closing the "Bathtub" area of westbound I-376 around 10 a.m. Wednesday, though it could close sooner. The Mon Wharf will be closed Wednesday until further notice, and people parked there are asked to remove their vehicles by 6 p.m. Tuesday. 

Brownsville basements flood with inches of water

A neighborhood in Brownsville, Fayette County, is pumping out the water after waking up to their basements flooding. The heavy rain backed up their drains and turned the basements into a murky, muddy mess.  

Water Street in Brownsville lived up to its name with people still pumping out water with several inches in their basements. People living in the 1500 block woke up to a mess.

Basements on Water Street in Brownsville flooded on April 2, 2024.  (Photo: KDKA)

"I heard some storms during the night but I didn't get up to look and then I get a phone call from my landlord at 5:20 saying we're flooded," Doris Gavala said about her basement.

Gavala lives on the other side of the duplex from her landlord and found about 12 to18 inches in her basement. Her dryer, furnace and water heater are all expected to be impacted.  

"Unfortunately, I had way too much stuff down there and had stuff floating around," Gavala said.

Just across the river, in East Bethlehem Township, a van was engulfed by flood waters. Crews had to use front loaders to get debris off the road to make it passable.

A van became trapped in flood water in East Bethlehem Township on April 2, 2024.  (Photo: KDKA)

Back on Brownsville's Water Street, there were about 10 houses that had some water in their basements. Fire crews said it's a routine problem when we get a deluge of rain.

"Only when it rains hard down here in this area. We don't know what's wrong. Everybody's basement backs up through the drains. They call us and we come to help," South Brownsville Assistant Fire Chief Lew Hosler said.

"It's been worse but it's pretty bad," Jennifer Smitley said.

Smitley was also cleaning out water. She had a couple feet in her basement, and since it's happened before, she's learned to not keep anything too nice downstairs. The next step for everyone is cleaning up the mess the water leaves behind.

"This is stinky, sewer-smelly kind of water that's down there," Gavala said.

According to the chief, with more rain in the forecast, scenes like this could a reality again in the area.

Washington County crews brace for flooding 

Emergency crews in Canonsburg are preparing for flooding-related issues from Tuesday's storms. 

"Hopefully nobody drives through standing water," said Ken Flood, a volunteer firefighter in Canonsburg. "As we've all heard through past experiences, people who have been through bad situations, turn around, don't drown."

"We do have a crew on as we speak," he added. "But then if the whistle blows and the tones go out, we have a lot more help coming."

Washington County Public Safety Director Jerry Coleman said the streams and creeks that took all the rain earlier will rise quicker if significant rainfall hits again Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Crews prep for flooding risks in Pittsburgh area 01:39

Pittsburgh power companies prepare for severe weather

Duquesne Light Company said it's prepared for high winds, hail and heavy winds that could damage electrical equipment and result in power outages. 

Duquesne Light said it has increased staffing to make sure they can respond to outages as safely and quickly as possible. But because of potentially hazardous conditions, the company says some response times may be delayed. 

Customers are reminded to avoid downed power lines and check emergency kit supplies. Have supplies like batteries, flashlights, first aid kits, water and blankets within reach and make sure your important electronic devices like cell phones are charged.

If there is an outage in your neighborhood, Duquesne Light customers can report it online, through the mobile app or by calling 888-393-7000.

KDKA-TV Nightly Forecast (4/2) 03:29
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