Mon Valley mobilizes to meet storm's onslaught
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, 4:41 a.m.
A forecast of severe, potentially life-threatening weather is no laughing matter, but Pat Bluett managed to inject some humor into an email about postponements of Duquesne-West Mifflin Boys & Girls Club's Halloween activities.
“Does anyone know where the ark is docked?” Bluett, the club's assistant executive director, asked.
There was no ark parked amid construction vehicles idled by the approach of Hurrican Sandy at most road-project work sites in Western Pennsylvania.
“Most if not all work is being canceled,” PennDOT District 11 spokesman James Struzzi said.
That includes railroad crossing work that was to begin Monday on Streets Run Road in Baldwin and Route 837 in Dravosburg.
In advance of Sandy's landing Monday in New Jersey, the National Weather Service said close to an inch of rain had fallen at Allegheny County Airport.
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for the Youghiogheny and Monongahela rivers. As of Monday at noon, the Yough was at 3.5 feet at Sutersville, while the Mon was at 10.3 feet at Elizabeth.
Flood stage in both locations is 20 feet.
Clairton Mayor Rich Lattanzi issued a declaration of disaster, directing city officials “to act as necessary to meet the current exigencies of this emergency.”
That could mean hiring temporary workers, renting equipment, purchasing supplies or “entering into such contracts and agreements for the performance of public works and public safety functions as may be required.”
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald issued a declaration at the recommendation of county Emergency Services Chief Alvin Henderson, a Jefferson Hills resident. A spokeswoman for Fitzgerald said normal bid and contract procedures are waived for the duration of the declaration.
East Allegheny schools are closed Tuesday and scheduled for a two-hour delay Wednesday. Evening activities are canceled through Thursday.
Duquesne, McKeesport Area, Propel Homestead, Steel Valley and West Mifflin Area schools are closed. Duquesne after-school programs are canceled through Wednesday.
Community College of Allegheny County and Long Run Children's Learning Center called off classes.
At press time, Clairton, Elizabeth Forward, Norwin and West Jefferson Hills schools and Queen of Angels in North Huntingdon Township were scheduled to open Tuesday on two-hour delays.
East Allegheny's Logan Middle School may be used as a shelter, according to a strategic worked out at a meeting in North Versailles Township.
“We laid out a game plan,” township board president George Thompson said of a meeting of officials from the township, Wall, Wilmerding and East McKeesport.
North Versailles municipal building may serve as a command center, Thompson said.
Keeping Route 30 clear of debris will be a top priority.
“All the communities are working together,” township road commissioner Sam Juliano said.
East McKeesport emergency management coordinator Stacy L. Mays emailed advice to borough residents who receive Nixle alerts, including the suggestion that they have a three-day supply of food and water should the power go out.
“Please remember your pets,” Mays said. “It is recommended that you have copies of your utility bills and any medications that you may have, should an evacuation be ordered.”
Red Cross of Western Pennsylvania suggested having flashlights, a battery-operated radio and a first aid kit.
Henderson's list includes a non-electric can opener, cash, credit cards and sturdy shoes.
“Do not use generators in a closed garage or other unventilated area that is attached to your home,” Henderson urged. “Don't drive through standing water in case of flooding — turn around and go the other way. Obviously, we would also encourage residents to check on their friends, family and neighbors to make sure that they're doing OK during the next few days.”
Allegheny County's Swiftwater/Flood Response Team mobilized three teams of rescuers, inflatable boats and rescue equipment for deployment in Eastern Pennsylvania.
“We are on our way out to Harrisburg,” said team deputy coordinator Chuck Margliotti, a McKeesport deputy fire chief.
Sixteen state-certified rescuers were sent from McKeesport, Glassport, Elizabeth and other communities.
“We still have sufficient resources to cover Allegheny County as needed,” said team coordinator George McBriar, who also is Blawnox fire chief.
The Red Cross and Salvation Army are involved in relief efforts.
A Red Cross spokeswoman said the agency is gathering and organizing volunteers, packing relief supplies, prepping four emergency response vehicles and designating workers to be on-call around the clock. The Salvation Army said its equipment and personnel are on standby from the Carolinas to Maine.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or email@example.com. Staff writers Michael DiVittorio, Stacy Lee, Eric Slagle, Mary Ann Thomas and Jennifer R. Vertullo and Trib Total Media news exchange partner WPXI-11 contributed to this story.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Mifflin business joins forces with East Allegheny students
- Ben Avon Episcopal priest sentenced in child pornography case
- White Oak residents can sign up for county’s new special needs registry
- Prescription Drug Take Back Day to be observed locally
- Elizabeth council seeks $500,000 state gaming grant to aid flood recovery
- North Versailles magisterial judge ‘retires’ but remains on bench
- West Jefferson board approves bids for multiple projects
- 2 South Allegheny students earn accolades for environmental awareness artwork
- Juvenile found dead in Munhall home
- White Oak Republican Peoples removed from primary ballot
- Pleasant Hills chicken limit questioned