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Ducklings rescued, trees not so lucky after Armstrong storms

| Friday, June 20, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Multiple trees toppled and fell over utility lines, knocking out power, blocking roads and sending wildlife scurrying for shelter as strong storms blew through Armstrong County Wednesday night.

There were no reported injuries from the high winds, lightning and torrential rains.

However, five ducklings were rescued from a storm drain along Johnston Avenue in Kittanning just before the wicked weather moved in.

“Two little kids heard chirping coming from the grate and called 911 when they saw the ducklings,” said Jim Mechling, Kittanning Borough street supervisor.

“The mother must have waddled across the grate, and the babies fell through,” he said, noting that the mother duck was calling to her ducklings from a nearby wooded lot.

As soon as he fished the ducklings out, they ran to their mother and the shelter of the woods.

Mechling said it's likely rainwater gushing through the drain from the oncoming storm would have washed the birds away.

Armstrong 911 dispatch received at least 13 calls about wires down or trees blocking roadways. A 15-foot area of road was flooded in South Buffalo at Freeport and Striker roads, and several people reported a rock slide along Troy Hill in Rayburn.

“We had scattered storms over our seven-county region and experienced outages in every county,” said Chris O' Donnell, communications director of the Parker-based Central Electric Cooperative.

All 790 customers who were affected — including residents in Armstrong — had power restored by Thursday morning, O'Donnell said.

West Penn Power crews worked throughout the day Thursday to restore power to customers in Mahoning and South Buffalo.

“There is a pretty low likelihood of additional storms,” said Tim Axford, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Moon.

Wednesday's storms developed around Chicago and rode into the Pittsburgh area last night bringing 60-mph winds, he said.

“But the boundary has sagged off to the south,” Axford said. “We'll dry out tonight with another shot of showers tomorrow.”

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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