High winds, wet ground expected to wreak havoc
Just as the rain stops soaking the already waterlogged ground, high winds are expected to knock down trees and power lines across the region into Friday morning.
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for the region, which runs from 10 p.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday.
Winds are expected of 15 to 25 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 mph.
The region received about a half-inch of rain Thursday, continuing the trend from February’s record-breaking rainfall.
“That’s just too much, it’s not going to help the situation,” said Pat Harold, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Moon Township.
— NWS Pittsburgh (@NWSPittsburgh) March 1, 2018
The near-constant wet weather caused one of the Harmar bald eagles to bring out the “mombrella” — splaying its wings to protect its two eggs.
The ground was already soaked, causing landslides that wrecked homes, roads and vehicles.
The saturated ground combined with high-speed winds are a nasty combination, which will likely lead to trees and power lines being uprooted, Harold said.
“We expect to hear a lot about that,” he said.
Westmoreland County 911 officials said they had more than 20 reports of trees and power lines down blocking roads throughout the county just before 10 p.m. Thursday.
In at least two cases, in Irwin and Trafford, the falling trees landed on empty vehicles.
Allegheny County 911 said it also had numerous reports of downed trees blocking roads.
No injuries had been reported as of 9:45 p.m. Thursday.
A flood advisory for the Ohio River in Pittsburgh remains in effect through Friday morning. The water is expected to rise above 22 feet Saturday, flowing into the 10th Street Bypass, according to the National Weather Service.
The Mon Wharf parking area in Pittsburgh floods at 18 feet and is expected to remain closed through the weekend.
Harold warned drivers to be careful on the roads.
“When you’re driving, beware of crosswinds,” he said. “Keep both hands on the wheel, and be aware of sudden gusts.”
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Soolseem. Staff writers Brian C. Rittmeyer and Mary Ann Thomas contributed.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, email@example.com or via Twitter .