Sewickley Township flooding closes roads, triggers disaster declaration

August 20, 2018
Sewickley Township flooding closes roads, triggers disaster declaration

Flood waters washed out this section of Oak Creek Drive on Aug. 10, 2018, in Sewickley Township, isolating about 20 homes. Township officials planned to install a temporary bridge to restore access.

Rainstorms that swept through Westmoreland County on Friday afternoon washed out several roads in Sewickley Township, flooded many basements there and prompted township officials to declare a disaster.

The downpour washed out a section of Oak Creek Drive, temporarily stranding people in about 20 homes, township Emergency Management Director Glenn Wees said. The township supervisors Friday evening were bringing in a temporary bridge and a crane to set it in place, Wees said.

“It’s the only way in or out” for the residents, he said of the road. “We hope to have it cleared up for the weekend.”

Portions of Apples Mill Road and Harris Avenue were worn away by the flood waters, Wees said.

Apples Mill Road was closed at the intersection of Hildenbrand Road and was also the scene of a mudslide.

“A hundred feet of the road is eroded on the berm. It’s still flooded,” Wees said before 8 p.m.

Harris Avenue near Herminie also was closed.

“It’s a bad situation there,” Wees said. “A 40-by-40-foot area of the road is completely eroded. It’s gone.”

Morris Road was closed between Herminie Road and Route 136 after a storm pipe became partially exposed, blocking the road, according to Herminie Assistant Fire Chief Joe Marincic.

He estimated firefighters were busy pumping floodwater from more than 20 basements in Sewickley Township

“Our fire departments are stretched to the limit,” Wees said. “We have quite a bit of homes flooded. In the town of Hutchinson, they got hit really bad.”

A mobile home along Route 136 shifted on its foundation, but no injuries were reported, Wees said.

He said the disaster declaration will be submitted to county officials in the hope the township can gain state reimbursement for some of the costs incurred responding to the flood.

The area was under a flash flood warning until 9 p.m. Friday.

Between 2½ and 3 inches of rain fell on the area during the afternoon storm, National Weather Service spokesman Lee Hendricks said. He said lighter rain showers were expected through midnight.

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