As the cleanup began Thursday, business owners in Oakdale recalled a time nine years ago when storms were a lot worse and the water was a lot higher.
It wasn't Hurricane Ivan, to be sure, but the flooding Wednesday brought several feet of water, and for small-business owners in the borough and elsewhere in the region, real hardships.
"I had second thoughts about getting up today," said Alex Kramer, co-owner of Alex Kramer & Sons Insurance, Oakdale Travel Center and Oakdale Kids' Korner day care. "We may seem like we're OK, but it is bad."
Mr. Kramer, family and friends swept and piled and shoveled out mud Thursday afternoon, preparing for weeks of work to get the place back together. They stepped gingerly on the slick tile. Carpets soaked with water and mud gurgled when walked on.
They and others in the area were in remarkably good spirits, despite the work that lay ahead.
In the plaza across the street, Tom Burke, owner of Pepperoncini's Pizza and Wings, sat on a bar stool and surveyed the damage.
He said he hopes to reopen in a month, but it may take longer. In 2004, he had to get a loan to rebuild. This time, mud was caked on table bases and climbed up bar stools. Fortunately, he likely can salvage the seat cushions.
"There will be a lot of work," Mr. Burke said.
He and some friends who showed up to help were enjoying a beer as the sun beat down.
And that's where the good news comes in: The National Weather Service's long-range forecast includes sunny skies and high temperatures in the 80s through Tuesday, promising the waterlogged region some time to dry out.
Still, 12 county municipalities declared disaster emergencies Wednesday: Castle Shannon, Elizabeth Borough, Findlay, Jefferson Hills, Lincoln, North Fayette, Oakdale, Scott, South Fayette, Upper St. Clair, West Elizabeth and Whitehall.
In North Fayette, crews Wednesday worked to help people pump water out of their basements and some were dispatched to aid Oakdale and McDonald.
Fire department operations were back to normal Thursday, North Fayette Fire Chief Gary Hamilton said.
"I think it's pretty much business as usual," he said.
In Whitehall, police Chief Donald Dolfi said more than 70 homes experienced some water damage.
Also, no hazardous materials were released when part of the Clark Testing building in Jefferson Hills was flooded, an Allegheny County spokeswoman said Thursday.
Heavy rains caused Peters Creek to overflow its banks, sending water into the nearby facility, including a part of the building that a Clark Testing employee said Wednesday housed 55-gallon drums, some of which contained jet and diesel fuel.
"We treated it as a haz-mat response," county spokeswoman Amie Downs said Thursday.
Two barrels were found to be leaking, but those contained gear fluid, which is a water contaminant but not a hazardous material, Ms. Downs said.
Paul Heffernan, CEO of Clark Testing, confirmed that no hazardous liquids had been released from the facility.
No major damage was reported in Castle Shannon, Police Chief Kenneth Truver said. "For the most part, we fared very well. We were very lucky," he said.
About 5,700 Duquesne Light customers were without power as of 10 p.m. Thursday. Storm damage has made many of the repairs "lengthy and complex," spokesman Joey Vallarian said. As of 6 p.m., 4,851 West Penn Power customers were without power.
The National Weather Service confirmed Thursday that a tornado touched down near Moravia in Lawrence County Wednesday night.
The EF-1 twister, the second-weakest classification on the Enhanced Fujita scale, reached a maximum wind speed of 90 mph, measured 250 yards wide and was a quarter-mile long.
No fatalities or injuries were reported.
Staff writers Jon Schmitz and Kaitlynn Riely contributed. Molly Born: email@example.com, 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @borntolede.