Allegheny County assessing damage after recent rash of storms


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Now that the storms have blown through and the water has receded, Allegheny County has begun assessing storm damage sustained last week. Meanwhile, citizens in and around Clearfield, Fayette and Jefferson counties found out they can seek federal disaster loans following nightmarish flooding there last month.

Allegheny County Emergency Services, along with state and federal agencies, started evaluating damage caused July 10, when up to 3 inches of rain fell in some areas and led to widespread flooding and damage.

On Wednesday, teams assessed areas most impacted by the storms, such as Bridgeville, Mount Oliver, Oakdale, Scott, South Park and Upper St. Clair.

Today, the county said, assessment teams will move to the "remaining communities" of Clairton, Elizabeth Borough, Elizabeth Township, West Elizabeth, Forward and Jefferson Hills.

Additional flash flooding in southeast Allegheny County on Wednesday afternoon led to swift water recovery teams being deployed and five people being rescued in Elizabeth Township.

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Tom Corbett's office announced that residents in Clearfield, Fayette and Jefferson counties, and those in the 14 surrounding counties, may apply for low-interest disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

This comes after severe weather swamped the area, starting with June 27 flooding in Clearfield and Jefferson that left up to 4 feet of water on some roadways and shut down DuBois.

"The effects of the rainfall since June 27 have had impacts across Pennsylvania, but the western part of the state has been hit the hardest," Mr. Corbett said. "We are grateful that the Small Business Administration granted our request for assistance for those affected by the flooding."

Homeowners may receive low-interest loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace real estate, and loans not exceeding $40,000 may be taken out for personal property, according to the governor's office. Businesses and nonprofits may borrow up to $2 million to restore or replace assets, buildings, equipment and inventory.

Disaster loan outreach centers will open Tuesday at the DuBois Area United Way in Clearfield; the new terminal building at the Joseph A. Hardy Connellsville Airport in Fayette; and the First United Methodist Church of Reynoldsville in Jefferson.

The availability of the loans was only announced Wednesday, so it's too early to tell how popular they will be, said Joseph Bigar, Clearfield County's coordinator of emergency management.

"The citizens of Clearfield are hardy citizens," he said.

But Mr. Bigar said there's one thing Clearfield needs to fully recover, and that's "no more rain."

weather - mobilehome - region

Lexi Belculfine: lbelculfine@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc.


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