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Storms prompt watches and warnings

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Sunday, July 13, 2014, 11:33 a.m.
 

Strong storms produced heavy rain and toppled trees throughout Western Pennsylvania Sunday afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm watches and flood warnings that expired by 8 p.m. A storm moved through the South Hills into Westmoreland County about 4:30 p.m., producing frequent lightning and prompting a warning from the weather service.

Allegheny County emergency dispatchers reported downed trees and wires in Elizabeth, South Park and Pleasant Hills with power out. In addition, lightning struck a swimming pool deck on Ashley Lane in Jefferson. There were no injuries.

Duquesne Light had about 200 customers without power in McKeesport, West Miffllin and Pleasant Hills at 8:30 p.m., down from a height of about 2,000. The company expected to restore electricity by midnight.

The storm downed trees and power lines in numerous areas of Westmoreland County, including Route 711 north of Ligonier and along Route 982 near the Baggaley Elementary School in Unity, according to the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety. West Penn Power reported numerous outages across the county.

Forecasters expected the heaviest rain south in Fayette and Greene counties, said John Darnley, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Areas along the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border could get 3 to 4 inches of rain.

“There's a bull's-eye right over the upper Mon in West Virginia,” Darnley said. “It's going to be a wet beginning to the work week.”

There is a chance for flash flooding as the rain continues Monday and Tuesday, Darnley said.

Duquesne Light sent out a text message alert to customers with tips about how to prepare for the storm. The alert is an effort by the utility to help people be ready when serve weather hits, said Brian Knavish, a Duquesne Light spokesman.

He suggested that people keep cellphones and other devices charged, an emergency supply kit with food and water ready and plan with family members in place.

“You never know when a storm is going to cause a prolonged outage,” Knavish said.

Staff writers Bill Zlatos and Joe Napsha contributed to this report.

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