Flash floods warnings cause for concern

Andrew Cummings | Multimedia Editor. The large amounts of rain have caused water to puddle all over campus. Rain clouds pass overhead by McCloskey Field

Zoe Stratos | opinions editor

September 2, 2021

Pittsburgh loves the rain, but our roads and rivers couldn’t handle the remnants of Hurricane Ida as showers poured down Wednesday morning. Ida won’t rain on our parade much longer, as things are looking brighter as we move into the weekend — but drivers should use caution near our city’s waterways. 

The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh issued a flash flood warning until 12:15 p.m. 

Wednesday for much of the region, including all of Allegheny County.

“We’re still seeing some streams and rivers rise as all that runoff moves in. Be sure if you’re out and about driving to heed to any road closures, don’t drive through any water that’s over the road and turn around if you do see water flowing over the road,” said Jared Rackley, a meteorologist with the NWS. 

Combined with another front, the aftermath of Ida continued into the evening on Wednesday, closing roads Downtown and around the city all day long. 

Gov. Tom Wolf was joined by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), 

Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) on 

Wednesday afternoon to provide an update on state agency response to remnants of Ida, warning drivers to steer clear of water covered roads.

The Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) began 24-hour operations at 8 a.m. Wednesday with staffing from the following agencies: departments of Environmental 

Protection, General Services, Health, Military and Veterans Affairs, Human Services and Transportation; Office of the Attorney General; Pennsylvania State Police; Fish and Boat Commission; Public Utility Commission; Turnpike Commission; American Red Cross and Civil Air Patrol. 

The crews cleared debris and kept each other updated throughout the day on the status of different parts of the state. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said at least five state roads in the region were closed Wednesday due to the storm’s effects, including Route 51, Saw Mill Run Boulevard, in the city. 

On Wednesday, three state roads in Shaler Township were flooded and closed. 

Rainfall in the Downtown region reached approximately 4 inches from Tuesday to Wednesday, and areas like Mt. Lebanon reached as much as 5 inches.

Flooding rivers in the region are expected to crest starting Thursday afternoon and will be back to normal going into the weekend. 

On campus, students trekked through puddles in front of College Hall and across Brottier, umbrellas in hand, to get to classes despite the storms. 

Due to the inclement weather, the Student EXPO went virtual for the day, and the Volunteer Fair was moved to the Union Ballroom. 

“To meet with some of our 250 student organizations and university departments, login to DORI and visit Campus Link,” DUActivities said in an email to students. “Once on the Campus Link homepage, you should see an alert box with a link to the virtual EXPO.” 

But as the sun moves in on Thursday, the EXPO and Volunteer Fair will be back on A-walk for the last time this semester from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

In addition, some classes were moved to a virtual setting for the day due to the rain, including graduate assistant Anna Lampe’s Introduction to Psychology course. 

“I’ve decided to move class to Zoom today due to the flash flood warnings and the severe weather, as I know many of us are commuters, and it would be safest to stay home right now,” 

Lampe wrote in an email to students. 

No need to keep those umbrellas and waterproof jackets at the ready, the sun will come out soon for Pittsburgh. 

“Looking at the radar right now, we have a few really light showers that are moving across the area, basically just light rain or drizzle. Once that scattered drizzle moves out of here, looking at the rest of the week we’ve got sun in the forecast and cooler temperatures. That’s something to look forward to,” Rackley said.