The region is cleaning up --- again --- from the latest round of heavy rainstorms during a year that is likely to wind up as one of the wettest in recorded history.
Two lines of storms that moved through Western Pennsylvania on Thursday caused widespread road closures and flash flooding. This time, it seemed to be the Turtle Creek valley and Westmoreland County that took the biggest hit, at least in the Mon-Yough area.
North Huntingdon Twp. police reported that state Route 993 in Larimer and Irwin had reopened just before 9 a.m. Friday after being closed for most of Thursday, but that Brownstown Road near the Town House remained shut down, and that Pine Hollow Road near the Penn Twp. line would be closed "indefinitely."
The township's emergency management agency is providing cleanup kits for residents whose homes were affected by flooding. The kits are available in the lobby of the Town House and at the police station.
Westmoreland County emergency dispatchers reported that a motorist was briefly trapped in a vehicle near Westmoreland City due to flash flooding, and that a water rescue was necessary in the 8800 block of Norwin Avenue.
According to the National Weather Service in Moon Twp., weather observers in Irwin reported nearly 3 inches of rain during one of Thursday's storms.
Closer to McKeesport, emergency personnel reported the intersection of Ripple Road and state Route 48 --- long a trouble spot --- was underwater Thursday afternoon, while the ramp from the W.D. Mansfield Bridge to West Fifth Avenue in McKeesport, another problem area, was closed by flooding at around 11 a.m.
On Glass Run Road near West Homestead, witnesses reported seeing a vehicle floating in flood waters, according to the weather service.
Precipitation is already three inches above the normal for this time in July, with measurable rain on seven out of 11 days so far, the weather service said. For the month of June, precipitation was about two inches above normal, with rain on 17 out of 30 days.
The region will get a break this weekend, according to NWS forecasters. Dry weather is expected into Saturday, with only a slight chance of rain in the Mon-Yough area Saturday night into Sunday.
But forecasters are still trying to predict the track of Tropical Storm Barry, which is currently moving through the Gulf of Mexico toward Louisiana. That storm --- which is expected to increase to hurricane strength by the time it makes landfall Saturday morning --- could bring up to 25 inches of rain to areas along the Mississippi River that are already struggling with near flood-level conditions.
Remnants of that storm could reach our area by the middle of next week, forecasters said, but "the models are all over the place" on how quickly any rainfall from Barry might reach our region.
Originally published July 12, 2019.