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2 more storms continue nature's assault on Mon-Yough area

| Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 4:21 a.m.
Michael DiVittorio | Daily News
McKeesport public works director Steve Kondrosky Sr. observes as a city crew member clears debris from a landslide that damaged two cars in a lot along Evans Avenue.

Two storms poured more headaches and heartaches on Mon-Yough communities on Monday.

The first caused havoc around 4 p.m. for rush-hour commuters in White Oak and North Versailles Township, when Route 48 was closed between McClintock Road and Route 30.

Duquesne Light spokesman Joey Vallarian said a “couple of broken poles and downed wires due to a tree falling” affected as many as 450 customers.

Traffic signals still were out as far south as Oak Park Mall when the second storm arrived around 7 p.m.

It dumped 0.86 inches at Allegheny County Airport, where no rain had fallen during the first wave.

Allegheny County dispatchers reported flooding from the first storm in White Oak on Lincoln Way between Rankin Road and the Westmoreland County line and on Route 48 near the McKeesport city line by Rippel Road.

The second storm affected areas from Second Street in Pitcairn to the UPMC campus in McKeesport.

Two unoccupied cars were submerged in mud and tree branches on Monday evening when a landslide covered most of a parking lot along Evans Street, across from UPMC McKeesport. Public works crews used a backhoe and other equipment to clear debris, and police helped reroute traffic. No injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service said street and basement flooding was reported in and around Elizabeth, including Lovedale Road in Lincoln and Pineview Drive in Elizabeth Township.

States of emergency were declared during the July 10 floods in Elizabeth, Jefferson Hills, Lincoln and West Elizabeth.

Shortly before the storms rolled in, PennDOT District 11 press officer Steve Cowan said no state highways remained closed or restricted from Sunday.

Kennywood patrons received free passes to make up for an interrupted Sunday night stay in the West Mifflin amusement park.

“We closed early because we lost power to a part of the park,” park spokesman Jeff Filicko said.

The outage happened at 6:45 p.m. as a storm dropped 1.2 inches of rain on the eastern suburbs.

Filicko said the park has weathered the severe storms of the past two weeks with “nothing more than the typical small tree limbs and things like that” and no significant damage. He said Sunday's outage was the only one that has occurred during the storms.

“Several of the games still had lights on,” Filicko said, but enough of the park was in the dark to warrant a shutdown. “We offered all our guests rain check tickets to come back whenever they like.”

Sunday's storm caused flooded roads and basements in East Allegheny, South Allegheny, McKeesport and Dravosburg.

It may have been the last straw for a house along Cypress Alley in Glassport, which has been inundated three times recently.

Borough sewer department worker Michael DeSue told Trib Total Media news exchange partner WPXI on Monday that a storm drain collapsed under the home of Jerry and Joanne Wirbicki.

The Wirbickis said the July 10 rains caused a large portion of the street to collapse in front of their home and caused water to back up in their basement.

They said a borough employee damaged the gas line into their house while operating heavy equipment.

The National Weather Service does not anticipate further hazardous activity through next weekend, according to a long-range outlook for the Pittsburgh area.

AccuWeather is predicting a thunderstorm in spots for Tuesday, then sunny days and less humidity through Friday.

Senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said he expects the real-feel heat index to reach 75 on Wednesday, compared to a high of 106 last week.

“The most notable change will be cooler nights and better sleeping weather for those who do not have air conditioning from mid- to late-week,” Sosnowski said.

Forecasters said thunderstorms are possible on Saturday and Sunday.

Staff Writer Michael DiVittorio contributed to this story. Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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