The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 10, 2013

Weather for the birds: Area sees rain every day for more than 2 weeks

JOHNSTOWN — Wednesday marked the 15th straight day of precipitation for the Johnstown area, according to AccuWeather reports from the Johnstown-Cambria County Airport. Much of Cambria County was under a flood warning after 9 a.m. that ended around noon and reissued at 1 p.m. until midnight.

The latest weather reports, however, see the area drying out a bit.

Some of Pittsburgh’s main traffic veins were closed Wednesday, the roadways lost under water that reached 3 inches in some places. PennDOT reported that at least 13 state routes had to be closed due to flooding or downed power lines, including Interstate 376 West in Pittsburgh toward Route 51 South in nearby Brentwood and the outbound lanes of the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

According to The Associated Press, residents were advised to stay north of the city’s three rivers. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

“It’s quite a morning,” said PennDOT press officer Steve Cowan, who was trapped on a flooded road during his morning commute. He was scrambling to collect closure information for the media when much of Bridgeville lost power in the morning and its traffic management center went dark. He said information was then routed through the Harrisburg traffic management center.

“It definitely did not impact any of our operations or create any issues for the work that needed to be done in the field,” he said. “Our crews are busy cleaning debris, roadways and the shoulders, assessing any damage.”

Bridges in flood-impacted areas also were being inspected to ascertain if they had sustained any structural damage.

Pittsburgh’s new running back, Johns-towner LaRod Stephens-Howling, was scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon with Tribune-Democrat Editor Eric Knopsnyder. Due to the flood conditions in Pittsburgh, the meeting was rescheduled for July 22.

Although some areas in Cambria County could be flooded by this morning after Wednesday night’s forecast of more thunderstorms, heavy downpours and gusting winds, AccuWeather reports were saying there’s some light at the end of the water spout, as this torrent of a weather front pushes off to the east today.

“We’ve been in a very warm and humid stretch the past couple weeks,” said Paul Walker, a meteorologist with AccuWeather’s State College headquarters. “That’s all due to the clockwise circulation and high pressure out near Bermuda.

“That’s brought this warm, humid air across the Eastern Seaboard.”

The heavy, oppressive air is expected to dissipate toward the weekend, with mid-70s temperatures on Friday and “pleasant,” partly sunny skies through the rest of the weekend. Saturday’s high is 78 with a high of 79 on Sunday. Thunderstorms also are forecast for Sunday.

Even with wetness recorded in the area every day since June 24, Walker assured relief from the recent humidity is coming.

“It’s a welcome change,” he said. “It’s awfully sticky out there right now.”

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