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Flood Watch

February 28, 2011

Pete Smith, Central Fire Department assistant chief (left) and Chris Smith, Central firefighter (right), are shown Monday afternoon pumping water out of the basement of a home on Greenwood Avenue. Charlie Hoeh, Punxsutawney Emergency Management coordinator, said that was the only basement that was pumped in Punxsutawney, despite the heavy rainfall which totaled 1.30 inches. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PITTSBURGH — Although the rain had stopped, Jefferson County remained under a flood warning until 9:30 p.m. Monday night, a warning extended from 6:15 p.m. earlier in the day.

Sun is expected today, with temperatures dropping into the 20s tonight.
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh said the flood warning included Punxsy, Summerville, Reynoldsville, Dora, Clear Creek State Park, Brookville and Brockway.

The NWS said at 6:15 p.m. — the expiration of the first flood warning — flooding was still being reported across portions of the county, and many streams and creeks remained near their banks.

Runoff was expected to continue through the evening, the NWS said.
Also Monday, AccuWeather in State College said heavy rain and rapid snowmelt, coupled with warm winds, would combine to create a significant flood threat across portions of the Ohio River Valley — from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill. — and the northeast.

AccuWeather said a widespread swath of land would get drenched by about a half-inch to an inch of rain from the Ohio River through New England, while as much as two inches of rain could fall near the Ohio River in heavier thunderstorms.

“The snowmelt is the key player in this flood situation,” Expert Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews said Monday.

Charlie Hoeh, Punxsutawney Emergency Management coordinator, said there was only one basement — along Greenwood Avenue — that was pumped Monday by the Central Fire Department.

Hoeh said Punxsutawney received 1.30 inches of rain since midnight Monday, with the majority occurring between 4 and 5 a.m. Monday during the thunderstorms that occurred.

The Mahoning Creek was still rising Monday evening, but Hoeh expected that to halt overnight.

Hoeh said he began reading the stream gauge early Monday morning when the creek began to rise, with the water coming halfway up on the sign that reads “Punxsutawney” on the dike wall.

“If the rain hadn’t halted, I would’ve been reading that gauge every hour,” he said.

The Big Run Fire Area Volunteer Fire Company was keeping an eye on Route 119, as Mahoning Creek was beginning to rise onto the new bridge under construction, Hoeh said.

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