TribLIVE

| News

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

Pittsburgh swift water rescuers called back on journey north to help flood-ravaged counties

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.

Friday, June 28, 2013, 12:54 p.m.
 

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 ctogneri@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Kang’s 9th-inning home run gives Pirates wild victory over Twins
  2. Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
  3. Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
  4. Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
  5. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
  6. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  7. More than 100 stamp bags confiscated in Greensburg; 4 arrested
  8. School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
  9. Murrysville Legion caps stellar season
  10. Hempfield cyclist to cool wheels in jail during appeal
  11. Van Halen plays plenty of favorites in First Niagara show