Outlying counties report minor storm problems
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Just as Allegheny County pretty much made it unscathed as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy passed through, other counties in Western Pennsylvania reported few problems.
Here's a wrapup of how things stood as of early this afternoon:
Public safety director Randy Brozenick said the county thus far had been spared serious damage from rain or wind.
Only about 115 homeowners and businesses were without power at midday. Reports of power loss have come in from Boggs, Cowanshannock, Kiski, Madison, Mahoning, Parks, Plumcreek, Valley and Wayne townships.
First Energy, which serves much of Armstrong, was not able to estimate when electric service would be restored, Mr. Brozenick said.
There have been reports of minor road flooding, he said, but no streets or highways have been closed.
"Most of the reports coming in to 911 are of trees down, wires down and basement flooding," he said.
The county was under a flood warning until 11:45 a.m. today and a high wind warning until noon. Both have expired.
Emergency dispatchers said the county had some reports of downed wires and trees last night in a few areas, but nothing as of 6 a.m. today.
Steve Bicehouse, the county's director of emergency services, said the storm's peripheral damage created "a minor event."
"We had localized power outages, localized trees and wires down," he said. As for flooding, he said, "It was a road here, a road there and some basements. The ground was so dry and creeks were down, so we had no stream flooding at all. We went around and did assessments today."
Of 1,200 customers without power at 5 a.m. Tuesday, he said ther were 475 still without power at 10 a.m. The rest were expected to be back on line by noon, he said.
An emergency operations supervisor said, "We've got some flooded basements, but nothing particularly bad."
She said the flooded basements were reported throughout the county, not in any particular areas -- "It's pretty much all over" -- and that no roads were closed and no major problems were reported due to flooding.
Emergency dispatchers said they had no reports of storm-related damage last night or today.
Emergency officials reported no major damage from the storm.
"We dodged a bullet," 911 center shift supervisor Lee Thompson said.
"We really didn't have much impact. We have flooded basements, that's it."
State police in Indiana reported no accidents as a result of the storm.
Some areas were still getting a mix of rain and snow as lunchtime approached Tuesday. The town of Somerset got six to eight inches of "heavy, wet snow," said county Emergency Management Coordinator Rick Lohr, and travel on the icy ridgetops was discouraged.
Rainfall in the county ranged from three inches in some spots to six inches in a few others. Parts of three roads remained closed at midday: Black's Hill Road/Million Dollar Highway; County Line Road near Seven Springs; and Somerset Pike Route 985 near the Cambria County border.
About 2,500 homes were without power. St. Paul's Church in Somerset Borough was taking in nearby residents who were without power.
The storm was blamed for one vehicle accident, a fatality, when a car ran into a pond in Middlecreek Township.
All schools were closed, but all businesses, the county courts and the Turnpike were reported to be open.
About 800 customers remained without service, according to West Penn Power.
County Commissioner Harlan Shober and state Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, who is also that borough's first assistant fire chief, said they knew of little storm-related damage.
The state Department of Transportation reported only one current road closure, a stretch of Courtney Hill Road in Union Township. A second road, Hewitt Avenue in Blaine Township, had been closed earlier in the day but has reopened.
Eighteen people from Ligonier Borough and a dozen others from nearby communities had to be rescued from their homes because of rising streams, said county spokesman Dan Stevens. Dispatchers said 16 of those were taken to shelters.
The worst of the flooding seemed to be concentrated around Ligonier Borough, where meteorologists received reports that 3.62 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.
Several areas along Loyalhanna Creek were nearing flood stage, but the water was receding, said meteorologist Lee Hendricks of the National Weather Service.
In Latrobe, where the weather service has not set a flood stage, the creek jumped from 6 feet deep early Monday to nearly 20 feet this morning.
Mr. Stevens said two dozen roads across the county had been closed because of flooding. Flooded roads included Route 30, Route 18 and Route 259 in Ligonier, Route 981 in Mount Pleasant, Route 251 in Fairfield, Route 130 in Cook and Route 981 in Bell.
This afternoon, Mr. Stevens said, he was advised by the National Weather Service that the water was expected to recede. Four roads had reopened and he hoped all would be cleared for rush hour traffic.
About 1,000 West Penn Power customers remained without electricity this afternoon.
First Published October 30, 2012 1:32 pm