Pittsburgh swift water rescuers called back on journey north to help flood-ravaged counties
A team of specially-trained swift water rescuers left Pittsburgh and headed north to help local efforts in flood-ravaged counties, but then were called back when weather-related concerns elsewhere eased, authorities said.
“They were recalled about three-quarters of the way there”, said Ray Demichiei, Pittsburgh's deputy director of emergency management. “They started to get the situation under control up there.”
Public Safety Director Michael Huss was part of a rescue team of eight that included EMS technicians, police officers and firefighters. They were to meet local officials in Lock Haven, Clinton County, and begin rescue operations in nearby Beech Creek Township.
Demichiei said enough trained personnel remained in Pittsburgh to “protect the home front, so to speak” in case of emergency here.
Heavy storms swept into the region Tuesday evening, and many areas have been battered on and off by thunderstorms and downpours every day since.
Officials reported flooding in Clearfield, Jefferson and Centre counties, among other locations. Friday's storms struck southern counties hard, with flooding reported in Washington County.
American Red Cross volunteers opened shelters in Dubois, Clearfield County, and Sigel, Jefferson County on Thursday. Nearly 200 people stayed overnight, spokeswoman Lauren Ashley said. Red Cross emergency response vehicles will seek flood victims throughout the weekend and provide drinking water and snacks, she said.
John Darnley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Moon, said a “cyclonal airflow” circling over the Great Lakes is sucking moisture in from the Atlantic Ocean and dropping it on ground that is already saturated.
“It's not a normal pattern for summer,” he said. “It's like a big wheel centered over the Great Lakes. It draws in Atlantic moisture and wraps back around.”
Huss said Pittsburgh emergency responders are specially equipped to handle such situations.
In August 2011, a severe storm unleashed a flash flood on Washington Boulevard in Highland Park that killed four people, prompting Huss to train all public safety employees in shore-based water rescues. In addition, about 200 employees trained or are training on more advanced rescue techniques.
“Because we've added so many more trained personnel and additional boats, we now have some capacity to send help to other areas in their time of need,” Huss said.
Chris Togneri is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Signs of steady U.S. economy: Pay, home sales up, unemployment applications down
- Friends, family, history lure natives back to Western Pennsylvania
- Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
- Puppies’ eyes glued shut, South Huntingdon animal shelter says
- Crosby scores twice, Malkin delivers OT goal as Penguins beat Blues
- ’Tis the season to put retailers in the black
- Keystone Bakery closes Greensburg store
- Smartphones expected to overtake desktops for holiday shopping
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Excela, Pitt-Greensburg team on legacy videos for those in twilight of lives
- Artis leads Pitt to lopsided victory over Cornell