Heavy rains soak North Hills, motorists abandon cars on Perry Highway
By Bill Vidonic
Published: Saturday, July 28, 2012, 4:26 p.m.
Updated: Saturday, July 28, 2012
Jim Owens thought he was driving into just a little water on Old Perry Highway in McCandless Saturday afternoon — until he realized the muddy water of Pine Creek was rushing down the street at him and engulfing his car.
“I was a little scared,” said Owens, 55, of Zelienople, who was heading home from his housekeeping job at Wexford House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in McCandless. He was trapped in his car for a short time before he was rescued from about 3 feet of water by firefighters.
A brief burst of heavy rain caused some minor flooding across northern parts of Allegheny County just before 4 p.m. Saturday before quickly receding, with no reports of injuries or major property damage.
Police said they believe Pine Run backed up into sewers and flooded the highway. Owens was the only motorist who was trapped in the water, which soaked the interior of his car and flooded the engine.
Tammy Merriman, 52, of Economy, Beaver County, a title clerk at Northwood Settlement Services along the highway, said she watched as water rose by her office.
“I saw it going up so fast,” Merriman said, “I thought I could beat it.” Instead, she had to wait nearly 30 minutes in the Northwood parking lot until the water left Old Perry Highway, at the split with McKnight Road.
The National Weather Service had issued a flood warning on Saturday afternoon for Beaver, Butler, Allegheny and Westmoreland counties while storms swept through, dropping more than an inch of rain within an hour in northern Allegheny County.
That's on top of heavy rains Friday night into Saturday morning. Richland was one of the hardest hit areas, receiving 4 inches of rain overnight.
Officials believe heavy rain caused a tree to topple onto a moving car on Thompson Run Road in Ross early Saturday. The motorist, who wasn't identified, wasn't injured.
Rich Kane, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Moon, said Saturday was the last day that storms with heavy rains would plague the region. Sunday's forecast called for sun, lower humidity and temperatures in the mid-80s.
Staff writer Rick Wills contributed. Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
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