On Thursday morning, a thunderstorm hit in the northeast causing minor flooding. Two more storms followed that afternoon and in the evening hours, turning the region into a disaster area. Houses, trees, power lines, road signs, and other structures were torn apart and flooded from the disaster. Luckily, no one was killed though there were several injuries reported.
The first of the three storms came between 7 and 8:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, dumping 2.5 to 3.5 inches of rain in some areas, flooding creeks and the rivers throughout Western Pennsylvania. Then a second storm hit between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., causing wind and lightning damage throughout the area. A state of emergency was declared by Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato. Downtown Pittsburgh had reports of sections of buildings torn up and trees uprooted. There were also tornado warnings in eastern Ohio and funnel clouds reported in Beaver Creek State Park. About 25 percent, or 120,000 customers in Allegheny County lost power as well as 90,000 Duquesne Light customers. By nightfall, when the third group of storms hit, 34,000 were still without power, being reduced to 19,000 customers who went without electricity through the night. The third line of storms did little further damage but did not help the clean up and recovery efforts that had already begun.
Thirty-four minor injuries were reported in Allegheny county on Thursday. Also, 500 homes were damaged by floodwaters from overflowing creeks that rushed about two feet of water into the vulnerable structures. The American Red Cross set up air-conditioned shelters throughout the area and remained open until Friday. Rush hour was said to be chaotic on Friday morning with downed trees and power lines as well as flooded and uprooted roads inhibiting drivers from getting to work. The storms were said to be the result of cold pockets of air in a jet stream along the northern edge of a high pressure system that has caused the extreme heat in the Midwest for the past week.
For related articles visit http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07222/808462-258.stm and http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/news/westmoreland/s_521532.html .