Flooding follows storms, heavy rain in Westmoreland, Allegheny counties | TribLIVE.com

Flooding follows storms, heavy rain in Westmoreland, Allegheny counties

Brian C. Rittmeyer
Vehicles are submerged in floodwaters at Route 51 and Edgebrook Avenue on Saturday, July 6, 2019.

Flooding followed heavy rain across parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties after storms moved through the region Saturday afternoon.

The National Weather Service warned of the storm around 4 p.m. It contained heavy rain, frequent lightning and wind gusts up to 60 mph.

Rainfall amounts of up to an inch in 20 minutes were being reported.

The Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival at Twin Lakes Park in Hempfield was evacuated around 5 p.m. because of the high winds and lightning, executive director Diane Shrader said. The festival, which started Thursday, is scheduled to conclude Sunday.

Shrader said it was only the third time in the festival’s 45 years that it has been evacuated. She said about 20,000 visitors got out in about 20 minutes by walking to their vehicles or taking shuttle buses.

“We made that decision because we felt public safety was No. 1,” she said. “It went very smoothly. There were no injuries, there was no chaos and there was no panic. We had a plan in place, and it worked for us today.”

Around 5:30 p.m., the National Weather Service said the heaviest rain had moved out of the Pittsburgh area, but that water would take a while to recede.

Flooded roads were being reported across the region.

Allegheny County reported flooding in South Hills locations including Washington Avenue, Hope Hollow Road and Banksville Road.

Cars were seen flooded in the area of Route 51 and Edgebrook Avenue.

Flash flooding was also reported along roads in Oakdale, Carnegie and Scott.

“If you see water crossing the road, turn around!” the weather service said.

Light rail service was also being affected, according to the Port Authority. Service on the Blue Line was being detoured over the Red Line because of flooding, and a shuttle bus was serving the Library portion of the line between Washington Junction and Library.

A flash flood warning was to be in effect until 8 p.m. Saturday for a swath of central and southern Allegheny County and stretching into western Westmoreland County.

Power outages were being reported, with more than 11,000 West Penn and Duquesne Light customers without service as of about 7 p.m.

At that time, West Penn Power was reporting about 1,700 customers were without power in Westmoreland County, as well as about 500 in Washington Township. The utility also was reporting about 700 customers affected in Allegheny County, with most of those in Harrison, and 200 each in Armstrong and Beaver counties.

Duquesne Light was reporting nearly 8,500 customers without power, with about 2,000 in Plum and 1,000 in Wilkinsburg. Other heavily affected areas included Edgewood, Swissvale, Whitehall, Penn Hills, Green Tree, Churchill and Forest Hills.

West Penn Power was expecting to have service to its customers restored Saturday night. A restoration estimate was not available from Duquesne Light.

Allegheny County Parks closed it swimming pools at Boyce, North, South and Settlers Cabin parks for the day at 1:30 p.m. as the storms approached.

The county also announced that because of a power outage at the amphitheater and flooding in the South Hills, a Saturday night performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at South Park had been canceled.

The symphony is scheduled to perform at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, July 7 at the Hartwood Acres Amphitheater.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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