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Western Pa. flood watch remains in effect until Monday morning

Natasha Lindstrom
| Sunday, April 15, 2018, 7:27 p.m.
Renatta Signorini / Tribune-Review
The National Weather Service in Moon issued a flash flood watch for Sunday, April 15, 2018 through 4 a.m. Monday. Heavy rain could flood poor drainage areas and low-lying spots across Western Pennsylvania.

A thunderstorm striking Western Pennsylvania on Sunday night is expected to dump as much as three inches of rain, prompting concerns over possible river flooding, slippery roads and more landslides.

The National Weather Service in Moon extended its flash flood watch — which had already encompassed much of Western Pennsylvania — to include Beaver County as well as northern West Virginia and Ohio.

The storm will get more intense as the night goes on.

The flash flood watch remains in effect through 4 a.m. Monday.

Gov. Tom Wolf issued a statement saying that Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency officials urge residents to stay informed of weather conditions and be prepared in case of flooding.

"Parts of the state could see as much as three inches of rain by the time this system ends," PEMA Director Richard D. Flinn Jr. said. "We're not expecting significant river flooding, but people need to be mindful of the possibility of small creek and stream flooding, and in urban or poor drainage areas where flooding is common."

A flash flood watch indicates that weather conditions make flooding possible but not certain.

A warning would mean that flooding is happening or imminent and residents in areas prone to floods should get to high ground immediately.

Meteorologists expect 1.5 to 3 inches of rainfall by Monday morning.

Traffic delays and road closures are likely for many morning commuters.

Drivers who fail to obey road closures, traffic signs and speed restrictions amid the hazardous conditions could face increased fines — especially if emergency responders are called to help, the governor's office said.

Among notable road closures:

• The landslide-damaged Forward Avenue/Commercial Street corridor linking Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill and Swisshelm neighborhoods has been closed , again. One inbound lane could reopen as early as Monday morning, city officials said.

• Brodhead Road is closed between Flaugherty Run Road and Shafer Road in Moon, PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said Sunday, adding a slide occurred last week in the same location.

PEMA urged all drivers to avoid trying to travel on flooded roads. Officials pointed out that even if the water doesn't appear very deep, the road could be washed away under the water or otherwise unsafe.

Rain showers are expected turn into snow showers by Monday afternoon, with more snow possible Tuesday.

It's the wettest start ever to a year in greater Pittsburgh.

Between Jan. 1 and April 7, the region logged 16.18 inches of precipitation.

The typical amount for this time of year is 8.86 inches.

View the weather services's live radar coverage here.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514, nlindstrom@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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