Torrential rain brings floods, landslides around Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Torrential downpours turned roads into rivers and triggered landslides on Thursday, blocking access to a hospital for several hours and forcing the evacuation of a preschool when a sinkhole opened up.
The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg to Philadelphia through late Thursday as potentially strong thunderstorms move in. Damaging wind gusts and even hail were possible.
About 2 to 4 inches of rain has fallen in areas around Pittsburgh. Another storm will blow in Thursday evening and could bring more rain and powerful wind gusts, with tornados possible, the weather service said.
Access to UPMC St. Margaret hospital was blocked due to flooding, but ambulances were able to access the hospital using a different entrance, according to tweets by Allegheny County. The road has since reopened.
In North Huntingdon, a sinkhole opened up behind a KinderCare daycare and preschool and the children were evacuated.
People were driving the wrong way on an exit ramp because a stretch of Route 28 was closed due to flooding.
Emergency crews reported rescuing stranded motorists throughout the area.
O'Hara Township, about 12 miles north of Pittsburgh, has issued an emergency declaration urging all residents to leave low-lying areas.
Further east in Berks and Montgomery counties, more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain dumped onto the area just before the evening rush, flooding roads and trapping motorists in cars, the National Weather Service said.
A number of vehicle and residential evacuations were underway just before 5 p.m. after the rain-packing storm moved into the region. Officials urged residents to move to higher ground as soon as possible, calling it "an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation."
Someone had to be rescued from the second floor of a home, and several disabled cars were stranded on roads with drivers needing rescue, the Reading Eagle reported. Downed wires are also causing issues.