TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Forecasters warn late-day storms could be dangerous

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 1:36 p.m.
 

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 aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
  2. Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
  3. After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
  4. McCullers’, McLendon’s prowess in clogging trenches crucial to Steelers defense
  5. Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
  6. Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
  7. Reds solve Cole, stave off Pirates’ 9th-inning rally
  8. Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
  9. Steelers notebook: Injuries finally become issue at training camp
  10. Shell shovels millions into proposed Beaver County plant site
  11. Roman Catholic Church in midst of culture clash over gays