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Westmoreland

Derry-area residents headed back home following flood evacuation

Patrick Varine
| Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, 8:30 p.m.
Flood waters filled the low section of North Water Street near East Main St., as flooding continues along the Youghiogheny River in West Newton, on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Flood waters filled the low section of North Water Street near East Main St., as flooding continues along the Youghiogheny River in West Newton, on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.

Derry Borough Municipal Authority officials will continue monitoring the Lower Ridge Dam in Derry Township, but nearby residents have been given the all-clear to return home, according to a township supervisor.

“They’re going to monitor the dam, because they have more flooding coming,” said township Supervisor Jim Prohaska shortly after 8 p.m. on Monday evening. “They have two six-inch pumps they rented from Cleveland Brothers and another four-inch pump running to lower water in the reservoir.”

The Lower Ridge Dam, off Twin Maples Road, was 2 feet below evacuation level Monday morning when officials noticed some seepage in the wall of the dam, according to Westmoreland County Emergency Management Director Bud Mertz.

The dam is owned by Derry Borough’s municipal authority, which activated its emergency action plan around 11 a.m. on Monday, according to Bradenville Volunteer Fire Department officials.

About 100 residents were taken to temporary shelters at St. Joseph Parish and Derry Area Senior High School. The Red Cross shelter at the high school began closing around 7 p.m.

“An engineer from Gibson-Thomas inspected the dam, and they’re shipping everyone back to their homes,” Prohaska said. “School operations will be back to normal tomorrow.”

In West Newton, an evacuation center set up at the Collinsburg Volunteer Fire Company has been converted into an overnight shelter where 14 residents will stay the night.

Prohaska said he wanted to thank all of the emergency responders who aided residents throughout the flooding.

“It was a big effort with a lot of people involved,” he said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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