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Valley News Dispatch

River watch still on, experts 'cautiously hopeful' there won't be major flooding

| Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, 8:42 p.m.
Mike Lassinger of West Deer looks over chunks of ice left on the bank of the Allegheny River on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in East Deer.
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Mike Lassinger of West Deer looks over chunks of ice left on the bank of the Allegheny River on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in East Deer.
A view of the Kiski River in the Leechburg and Hyde Park area at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018.
Photo by John Beale
A view of the Kiski River in the Leechburg and Hyde Park area at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018.

The danger of flooding from miles-long ice on the Alle-Kiski Valley's rivers has passed for the most part, but officials still are watching water levels to make sure melting ice doesn't break away and block the flow of water.

The rivers still have ice on them, according to Gilpin Township Emergency Coordinator Morey Scitticatt, but it has been slowly melting and not posing as much of a hazard as officials feared when they called for a voluntary evacuation of low-lying Banfield Road on Thursday.

“Nothing has moved on the ice part, it's still frozen, but the water has gone down,” he said. “That's a good thing, but we have to hold and see with this warm weather here.”

According to Mike Fries, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, a flood advisory issued Thursday because of the river levels and ice build up since has been lifted.

“We don't have any active products out now for warnings or advisories,” he said.

Fries said warm weather has led to snow melt, but that the melt hadn't caused an appreciable rise in water levels and forecasted rain won't have much of an effect, either.

“The snow melt hasn't caused rivers to come up very much and the ice that we have out there is melting in place. Nowhere that we know of is flooding,” he said. “Semi-confident we won't have major issues from it. We're cautiously hopeful.”

Fries said temperatures will drop starting Monday night, but aren't forecasted to be nearly as cold as the weather that caused the ice buildup a week ago.

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, mmedsger@tribweb.com, or on Twitter @matthew_medsger.

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