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White Oak Cleaning Up After Storm, Flood Damage

By Cami DiBattista
The Tube City Almanac
June 21, 2019
Posted in: White Oak News

(All photos: Cami DiBattista, special to Tube City Almanac)

White Oak Borough was among the areas affected by Wednesday’s severe storm.

After the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for local counties, a storm passed through with produced a large amount of rain in a very short amount of time. The storm caused flooding in multiple areas along Lincoln Way which resulted in the road being temporarily closed in several places.

White Oak Animal Safe Haven, a no-kill shelter that has saved thousands of animals since its inception in 2003, was among the areas that were heavily affected when a small stream --- a tributary of Long Run creek --- overflowed its banks.

A large amount of brush, limbs and small trees washed down the small stream beside the facility causing a jam that resulted in an overflow of debris.

As the flood covered the parking lot, staff and volunteers prepared to move the animals to higher ground.

However, emergency responders were able to remove the debris so that an evacuation was unnecessary.

“I’m very proud of the WOASH staff and volunteers who quickly came into action and protected our animals, preparing to moved them safely to dry land,” said White Oak Mayor Ina Matron, who founded the shelter.

Marton thanked the White Oak #1 Fire Company, Rainbow Volunteer Fire Co., the White Oak Police Department and Street Department, White Oak EMS and Chief Paul Falavolito, and members of the Allegheny County Parks Department for their quick response to what could have been a devastating situation.

Other sections of Lincoln Way affected by the heavy rain included the run off at McClintock Road, Rankin Road, Stewartsville Hollow and the area across from Oakview Avenue, according to borough manager John Palyo.  

“I'm not certain if you can truly be prepared for the amount of rainfall that fell within that short amount of time plus the volume of storm runoff that occurred above our location,” Palyo said.

“We try to stay proactive by cleaning and keeping catch basins clear from debris that could clog the drains.  Unfortunately, we are located within a valley and that’s where all of the water drains within this watershed area.”

Palyo said he too was impressed with the response within the community.

The police, firefighters, EMS, emergency management, public works and code enforcement “all cooperatively assisted each other to ensure the safety of all in the area, stabilize the scene, protect property and to reopen the roadway as quickly and safely as possible,” Palyo said. “They worked very well together.”

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer who covers municipal news from Duquesne, White Oak and other subjects for Tube City Almanac. She may be reached at

Originally published June 21, 2019.

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