Storms Trigger Floods, Mud Slides in Western Pennsylvania; 4 Killed
Heavy thunderstorms Friday night triggered flash floods and mud slides along two tributaries of the Allegheny River, and at least four people were killed as high waters inundated homes and businesses and cut off rescuers.
The rush hour flooding from Pine Creek and Little Pine Creek struck Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs and caused fires, power outages and traffic jams in northern Allegheny County.
Police called for boats and helicopters to rescue residents from flooded areas, but the number of evacuees and the severity of their injuries were not known.
Water was more than 6 feet deep in some parts of the town of Etna, and many cars were submerged. About 10 people climbed to the roof of the municipal building waiting to be rescued by boats.
In Indiana Township, rescuers were “walking up to their hips” in water, witnesses said.
“Our wagons can’t get through,” Deputy Coroner Floyd Coles said. “The one wagon is on the scene. The other three wagons are blocked by the flooding. I’m lucky to get them dispatched.”
Three men died in O’Hara Township, and a fourth died when floodwaters hit the Blarney Stone Restaurant in Etna, Chief Deputy Coroner Jim Gregris said. Their identities were not immediately available.
An infant also was rescued from a car that was under water in Shaler Township, according to KDKA-TV.
A mud slide forced the closing of the westbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike about 5 miles west of Route 28 at the Allegheny Valley Interchange, State Police Cpl. Edward Vogel said. Westbound traffic was backed up for more than five miles.
Lightning started several house fires in Pittsburgh, Washington County and the Monongahela Valley, but none was reported to be serious.
Power outages also were reported in southwestern Pennsylvania.