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Western PA under a flash flood watch with more rain in the forecast

| Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 6:48 a.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Damage from Tuesday night's storms created a traffic problem as crews had to work to remove a large tree that had fallen across Route 51 in Coraopolis just before noon, Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The tree blocked both lanes of the highway, temporarily stopping all traffic.

The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh issued a flash flood watch for 6 p.m. until Thursday morning.

Over the next 36 hours, surrounding areas are expected to receive between 1 and 1.6 inches of rain. Some areas could receive up to three inches of rain, said Lee Hendricks a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Moon.

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.

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.”

Thunderstorms are also possible as the storm front moves in.

The flash flood watch includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Beaver, Indiana, Washington, Westmoreland, Greene and Fayette counties.

During Tuesday night's storm, some areas received up to 4 inches of rain, causing road closures and power outages.

Route 528 was closed in both directions in Jackson, Butler County, between McCarrell Lane and Main Street because of downed trees and utility lines, according to PennDOT. The road has reopened.

As of noon, about 2,950 Duquesne Light customers were without power, spokesman Brian Knavish said.

About 13,000 customers lost power Tuesday night. Knavish said the utility expects to have power restored to all customers by Thursday afternoon.

Two firefighters were injured battling fires in Mt. Oliver and Braddock, and lightning hit a house in Aliquippa.

West Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., reported more than 13,000 customers are without power.

The National Weather Service had reports of downed trees in Beaver, Mercer, Venango, Forest and Elk counties. Some roads in Lawrence County were blocked by fallen trees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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