More rainstorms forecast up through the Fourth of July

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Rain, rain just won't go away.

Western Pennsylvania has a "broken-record forecast" in store through the Fourth of July: showers and thunderstorms breaking up periods of clouds and sunshine, while the temperature hovers near the low 80s, according to the National Weather Service.

Since Tuesday, nearly 2.5 inches of rain has been recorded at Pittsburgh International Airport, Weather Service meteorologist Bob Coblentz said. While this amount isn't unusual, it's a lot to get in a short period of time, he said.

But it's almost nothing when compared to the amount of rain Clearfield and Jefferson counties have seen this week.

Disaster emergencies were declared in the two counties after about 6 inches of rain fell in five hours Thursday, leaving as much as 4 feet of water on some streets and forcing the closure of all roads going into DuBois in Clearfield County.

Between 7 and 8 inches of rain fell in some parts of Jefferson County, Tracy W. Zents, emergency services director for the county, said Friday morning.

"Right now, we're getting out of the response mode and into the recovery mode," Mr. Zents said.

Nearly 170 residents spent Thursday night in two Red Cross shelters at DuBois High School and Sigel Community Center in Sigel, Jefferson County. But water receded in some areas Friday and main thoroughfares reopened in DuBois, emergency officials said.

Several flooding-related injuries have been reported there.

A family of five was taken to the DuBois Regional Medical Center with carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator inside their home, said Joseph Bigar, Clearfield County Department of Emergency Management coordinator.

In Jefferson County, a man is expected to make a full recovery after suffering an electric shock, Mr. Zents said. Water rescues in Reynoldsville, a Jefferson County borough, continued into Friday morning, the last one around 8 or 9 a.m.

A few people have jumped off bridges or tested their kayaking skills on the flooded streets because "they think it's cool," Mr. Zents said, noting the perils of debris and bacteria in the water. They, and those who crossed emergency barricades, have been arrested, he said.

"Anytime somebody does that it puts emergency responders at risk," he said of the latter offenders.

An initial damage assessment in that county surveyed 99 buildings and found 41 with minor damage, 10 with major damage and one was destroyed, Mr. Zents said.

Damage assessments were conducted Friday in Clearfield County, though data hadn't been compiled yet, Mr. Bigar said. On Friday night, he said things there were "almost back to normal, with the exception of people cleaning up their losses."

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Lexi Belculfine: or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc. Molly Born contributed. First Published June 28, 2013 1:30 PM


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