Tornado watch continues as storms plow through region
The National Weather Service issued new tornado warnings for Armstrong and Clarion counties and Preston County, W.Va. as a line of strong storms that toppled trees and knocked out power in parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties Tuesday afternoon continue to move through the region.
The new warnings were set to expire at 8 p.m.
According to Westmoreland County emergency dispatchers, a tornado was reported heading from the Lawson Heights in Unity Township toward Youngwood shortly before 6 p.m. but that was not confirmed.
There were reports of multiple trees knocked down along sections of Route 819.
A lightening strike was reported along the 1800 block of Route 30 at Bulls Tavern near Ligonier. Smoke was reported inside the building at 6:15 p.m.
The weather service had a tornado and severe thunderstorm warning in effect for Greensburg, Jeannette and Latrobe. Armstrong and Clarion counties were added when, just before 7:30 p.m., a severe thunderstorn capable of causing a tornado was seven miles southwest of Rimersburg, Clarion County, moving to the east at 25 mph, the NWS said.
A tornado warning remained in effect for a larger area until later tonight across the area.
Earlier, Allegheny Power reported about 2,000 customers without service.That was reduced to about 700 by 8:30 p.m.
Duquesne Light was reporting about 1,000 weather-related outages at the Northside, Ross and Scott. Allegheny County 911 said there was a power outage affecting the Brighton Heights and Observatory Hill areas. That was reduced to about 500 without service at 8:30 p.m.
Weather service meteorologist Myranda Fullerton said weather conditions, such as humidity and a cold front, are favorable for tornadoes until at least 11 p.m. across most of this region.
Radar is showing multiple storms heading into the area through at least 8 p.m. “Severe thunderstorms with lightening and hail and downward burst winds are possible,” she said.
Fall is not a normal season for tornadoes but they happen, she said.
“The jet stream changes and comes south. The higher dew points are always a factor,” she said.
By 5 p.m. the rain was causing some flooding.
Allegheny County 911 said rising water was happening at Becks Run Road and Raven Street.
Also, the 1000 block of Washington Avenue in Scott was flooded.
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer.