Storms flood Washington’s main roads

June 28, 2013
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
Burk’s Towing in Washington pulls a stalled car from Park Avenue in Washington Friday as heavy rains flooded the area. Most major arteries in and out of Washington, including West Chestnut Street, Jefferson Avenue, Park Avenue, West Beau Street and West Maiden Street, were closed temporarily until the waters receded enough to allow traffic to move again. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter
Washington & Jefferson College’s Cameron Stadium field was completely underwater due to the flooding Friday afternoon. Order a Print
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Mike Jones/Observer-Reporter
Heavy rain Friday flooded Washington & Jefferson College’s Cameron Stadium and submerged the entire playing surface. Order a Print
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Scott Beveridge/Observer-Reporter
A tree blocks Zediker Station Road at Route 40 during a heavy storm Friday afternoon in South Strabane Township. Order a Print
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Emily Harger/Observer-Reporter
Traffic backs up on West Chesnut Street Friday afternoon after a storm hit Washington and flooded the road. Many of Washington’s main streets, including Chestnut Street and Park Avenue, were blocked off in the afternoon. Order a Print
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Emily Harger/Observer-Reporter
A policeman blocks traffic on Park Avenue near Washington & Jefferson College’s Cameron Stadium because of high water Friday afternoon. Order a Print
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Emily Harger/Observer-Reporter
A car drives through floodwaters on West Chestnut Street after a storm hit Washington Friday afternoon. Order a Print

Powerful storms rolled through Western Pennsylvania Friday afternoon, causing widespread flooding in Washington and other parts of the county.

Two downpours hammered the city about noon and brought nearly an inch of rain that flooded low-lying areas and prompted several main roads to be closed.

Traffic backed up across Washington as emergency responders closed major arteries – including Jefferson Avenue, West Chestnut Street, Park Avenue and East Maiden Street – and diverted traffic onto secondary roads. Catfish Creek overflowed its banks and water poured into Washington & Jefferson College’s Cameron Stadium, submerging the entire artificial playing surface.

“It was like a monsoon,” Washington fire Chief Linn Brookman said of the downpours.

Brookman said some buildings around the city sustained minor flooding, and at least one car had to be towed from the high water on Park Avenue. However, Washington County emergency dispatchers said they did not notice an abundance of crashes from the rain.

Brookman said his department responded to a tree down on McKinley Avenue in the city, and motorists reported a fallen tree blocking traffic on Zediker Station Road in South Strabane Township near Route 40. Other areas also received heavy downpours. The National Weather Service reported that Avella got 1.5 inches of rain.

Meanwhile, the heavy rain not only brought flooding to the streets, but also damaged the Washington city building. Mayor Brenda Davis said water from the roof or gutters overflowed and poured down some of the walls inside the building.

“We have a little mess on our hands,” Davis said.

No computers or office equipment were damaged, she said, but maintenance crews had to shut power off to the building and spent much of the afternoon trying to soak up the water that poured in.

Washington and Fayette counties were under flash flood warnings in the afternoon before the National Weather Service upgraded it to a full flood warning for Friday evening.

John Darnley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, said rain showers will continue to pepper the area over the weekend.

“We’re kind of in this (weather) pattern over the weekend,” Darnley said. “We’re just going to be in a position to see some additional rain and storms develop over the weekend.”

The weather service is predicting a chance of thunderstorms today and a chance of showers on Sunday.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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