Forecasters warn late-day storms could be dangerous
Meteorologists and emergency responders in Western Pennsylvania watched closely Tuesday as a storm that could bring high winds and heavy rain to the region brewed in the Midwest.
“Right now, we're just monitoring the weather through the National Weather Service,” said Cory Angell, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “The closer you get to the time the storm hits, the more of an idea the weather service guys give you of what you're looking at.”
Initial forecasts from the weather service predicted showers and thunderstorms after 4 p.m. Wednesday with winds between 5 and 7 mph for the Pittsburgh area. By Wednesday night, 1 to 2 inches of rain could fall. Lee Hendricks, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Moon, said there is a slight chance of severe weather.
Hendricks expected meteorologists to know more by Wednesday morning about the storm's potential for high winds, heavy rains and flash flooding.
“At this point, we're keeping a close eye on it,” Hendricks said. “It's a little preliminary to be putting out severe weather statements.”
County emergency responders awaited more information from the weather service before taking action. Allegheny County passed information on the storm to the heads of its emergency response teams, said Alvin Henderson, chief of the county's Department of Emergency Services. If a severe storm hits, the county will take an “all hazards” approach, mobilizing swift-water rescue, hazardous materials and medical teams.
“Sometimes, these storms break up and lose energy prior to coming into Pennsylvania or our region,” Henderson said.
Forecast models from the Weather Service show the worst weather could pass south of Pittsburgh. The models predict up to 3 inches of rain in some areas and a slight chance of damaging winds and hail.
Stephen Cropper, chief meteorologist at WPXI-TV, the Trib's news partner, predicted a shot of showers out in front of the storm to hit the region Wednesday morning and more severe weather to develop later in the day.
“We're in a pretty good recipe for severe storms,” he said.
The storm has the potential to develop into a derecho, some meteorologists said, but Hendricks said the probability is low. Not all the ingredients for a derecho are present, including high temperatures, Hendricks said. Wednesday's temperatures are expected to be in the low 80s.
Derecho wind storms occur once every year or two across the central and northeastern U.S. in a band from Texas to New England. They can pack winds of 75 mph or more and maintain their intensity for hours as they sweep across vast distances.
Such a storm system last passed near Western Pennsylvania June 29-30, 2012, Hendricks said. The storm killed 13 people nationwide and pummeled Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, the District of Columbia and Virginia, where emergencies were declared.
“We tend to be careful using the D word, but yes, a derecho is possible,” Bill Bunting, a meteorologist in the weather service's storm prediction center in Norman, Okla., said of the current storm. “It's scary because of the potential, but we don't want to over-forecast.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or email@example.com.
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.
- Video posted online captures Wilkinsburg child’s injuries
- Bayer plastics unit may be gone
- Pirates hit 3 HRs in rout of Red Sox
- Number of jobs in high-tech industry outpace workers in Pittsburgh, nation
- Police chase ends with shooting in Bell Township; suspect wounded
- Starkey: Two amazing Pirates fans
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Steelers remain confident in ground game
- Fed not budging on rate increase
- New Kensington-Arnold teachers accept 3-year contract
- West Deer awaits ruling from Pennsylvania Ethics Commission