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Powerful storms knock down trees, knock out power in Western Pa.

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Staff and Wire Reports
Thursday, June 13, 2013, 6:39 a.m.
 

Thousands of homes in Western Pennsylvania are without power Thursday morning after a powerful storm moved through the area overnight, knocking down trees and flooding roads.

The National Weather Service in Moon received reports of scores of trees blocking roadways and falling onto utility poles as a result of the heavy storms in the region overnight.

No injuries were reported. The service has issued a flash flood watch for the entire state through Thursday.

Pittsburgh Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski said crews responded to a dozen calls for trees down in the city, but none of them caused significant damage to vehicles or property.

West Penn Power said about 5,000 customers were without power as of 5:30 a.m., primarily in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

Duquesne Light spokesman Joseph Vallarian said about 750 of the utility's customers were without power as of 11:45 a.m., with all service expected to be restored by 4 p.m.

From 9 p.m. Wednesday and early Thursday morning, between ¼ inch and 1 12 inches of rain fell in Allegheny County, according to meteorologist Lee Hendricks.

Much of the damage occurred between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m., he said. Wind gusts of 45 mph were reported at around 4 a.m. at the Pittsburgh International Airport.

A fire at a three-story home in the 100 block of Woodbine Drive in Cranberry, Butler County, is believed to have been caused by a lightning strike, according to fire chief Brian Kovac.

The fire was reported at about 3:30 a.m. and caused extensive damage to the top floor and attic, the chief said. A woman and her two adult children were in the home at the time but were able to escape. Nobody was injured.

The massive storm system originally forecast to affect one in five Americans from Iowa to Maryland surged Thursday toward the Mid-Atlantic after largely failing to live up to its billing in ferocity through the Upper Midwest.

Authorities in Ohio reported early Thursday morning that high winds from possible tornadoes had damaged barns in the northwest and knocked out power in some areas in the center of the Buckeye State.

Meteorologists warned about the possibility of a weather event called a derecho, which is a storm of strong straight-line winds spanning at least 240 miles.

By early Thursday, a derecho hadn't developed. And Greg Carbin of the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said, “With each hour that goes by, it's less likely.”

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