Floods sweep Armstrong and Westmoreland counties

3-plus inches of rain reported

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The water started seeping under the door of Teri's Styling Salon in Apollo on Wednesday afternoon, and just minutes later, it was shin-deep.

"My God, I had to close down," said Teri Biddle, the salon's owner.

The torrent of water lapped up to car windows and threatened to carry people away who dared to venture outside, said Ms. Biddle, 43. "I'm self-employed and this is my business, so of course I'm going to be upset."

Just across town, at Wyble's Pharmacy, there was some water in the basement but little damage. By Wednesday evening, a storm that swept through the region moved out and water started receding in most parts of Westmoreland and Armstrong counties -- but many basements, businesses and roads flooded.

"All the fire companies are out -- there are boat rescue crews that are out," said Randall Brozenick, Armstrong County public safety director. "We're still in response mode," he said, adding that damage assessments will start today. "Because they're underwater right now, we don't know what the damage to those roads will be."

There were no reported injuries connected to the flooding, according to the National Weather Service, though there were plenty of 911 calls. Between 1 and 2 p.m., there were 200 emergency calls in Armstrong County, Mr. Brozenick said. The usual volume is between 20 and 30.

Rain over the past several days saturated the ground, leaving conditions ripe for flooding, said Brad Rehak, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Flooding in Westmoreland County is extensive.

"We have flooded roadways on the eastern, central and northern parts of the county," county spokesman Dan Stevens said, adding, "There are no specific areas that aren't flooded."

Up to 3.1 inches of rain fell in some parts of the county, Mr. Rehak said, but most places got between 2 and 3 inches.

Parts of Butler, Indiana and Fayette counties also flooded.

The next few days should be relatively dry, with no rain in the forecast.

weather - region

First Published August 28, 2013 9:00 AM


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