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Lightning strike leaves portions of Sewickley Valley without power

Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
A pedestrian walks past a 'We Are Open' sign in the window at The Ultimate Pastry Shop on Beaver Street in Sewickley Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Much of the business district, including The Ultimate Pastry Shop, was without power Wednesday following severe storms that passed through the area Monday. Sewickley Borough manager Kevin Flannery said a transformer was struck by lightning. Power was restored to the business district by Thursday morning.

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By Bobby Cherry and Kristina Serafini
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 1:57 p.m.

Check back as this story will be updated.

Power was restored to the Sewickley area by Thursday morning following an outage that left much of the business district without electricity Wednesday.

A transformer servicing the area took a “direct hit” from a lightning bolt during thunderstorms that rolled through the area early Wednesday morning, the borough manager said.

Traffic lights blinked at Thorn and Broad streets as the nearby Sewickley Public Library had closed because it had no power, librarian Meghan Snatchko said.

Safran's Supermarket on Walnut Street also was closed, according to its Facebook page.

Heritage Valley Sewickley hospital and the Sewickley Valley YMCA both remained fully operational and did not lose power, spokespeople for the two organizations said.

A lightning strike “melted” a transformer that services residents in the nearby area, Sewickley Manager Kevin Flannery said. He estimated power was lost sometime between 3 and 5 a.m.

The borough building on Thorn Street was using a backup generator and still able to accept calls from residents, he said.

Few tree limbs fell during the storms, Flannery said.

The storms brought up to 4 inches of rain in some areas of the region, according to National Weather Service data.

The weather service in Moon issued a flash flood watch from 6 p.m. tonight through Thursday morning as more storms are forecasted.

Additional rain coupled with wet soil conditions could cause flooding in urban areas, near bodies of water and other places with poor drainage, he said.

National Weather Service meterologist Lee Hendricks said drivers should avoid traveling through flooded roads. It takes between two and four inches of rain to move a car, depending on the car's speed.

“If you do encounter areas where you see flooding, turn around. Don't try to drive through it,” he said. “No one needs to get in a rush big enough that they could die.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or Kristina Serafini is a photographer and reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1405 or Staff writer Christina Gallagher contributed to this report.

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