West Pike Run Twp. hit hard by flooding

Daisytown, West Pike Run Twp. hit hard by heavy rains, flash flooding

Photo of Mike Jones
by Mike Jones
Staff writer
Photo of
and Scott Beveridge
Staff Writer
Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
A small stream that had only a little water running through it Thursday looked like a river Friday along Sunset Drive in West Pike Run Township. Three inches of rain fell on West Pike Run Township and Coal Center Friday morning, causing flooding and closing roads. Order a Print

DAISYTOWN – Steve Luko peeked outside during heavy rain Friday morning and was stunned to find muddy water surrounding his Daisytown house from a nearby creek that spilled its banks.

In a matter of moments, the normally tranquil Pike Run rose six feet above its banks and Luko sprung into action to divert water from entering the first floor of his house on Evergreen Road.

“I was shocked,” Luko said.

His neighbors in this West Pike Run Township village stood helplessly watching the small stream turn into raging rapids along Pike Run Road.

Ray Hunyady of Daisytown described a storm that carried a lot of lightning.

“It was a real steady downpour for a long time,” Hunyady said. “That’s a lot of water.”

John Darnley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, said a cold front brought heavy showers that hammered the southeastern part of Washington County. Records show pockets between Bentleyville, California and Richeyville received about 3 inches of rain in about three hours.

Darnley said many tributaries flowing into the Monongahela River overflowed their banks and flooded nearby roadways.

“There were a lot of flooded roadways,” he said. “It really depended on the drainage on the roadway and topography of the area.”

As many as a dozen roads were washed out from the storm, Washington County Assistant Public Safety Director Ron Sicchitano said. Hickory Road in West Pike Run was damaged to the point it wasn’t expected to immediately reopen.

Much of the runoff in the township found its way into low-lying Daisytown, which would have become a disaster area if the creek would have risen one more inch, said township Supervisor Rick Molish.

Molish added the storm “parked right over us.”

“I’m sure there is going to be a major cleanup.” he said.

The American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania sent four workers to West Pike Run to assess the damage and offer help. Red Cross spokeswoman Lauren Ashley said volunteers were working closely with county emergency responders to determine what was needed and more volunteers could be sent.

She added they were also delivering flood cleanup kits to affected homeowners, which include sponges, a broom, mop, bleach, Lysol and gloves.

“It’s a nice kit to have and it helps to get people started on the cleanup,” Ashley said.

A Washington County 911 supervisor said no one was injured in the flooding, and the center was still working Friday to determine the extent of the damage. The center, he said, mostly fielded calls about problem roads and basement flooding.

A house owned by Ray Mattie of West Pike Run probably took the toughest beating when the creek spilled over a small bridge, township Supervisor Phil Podrosky said.

The creek rose nearly 3 1/2 feet near Mattie’s home at Whitehall and Birch roads, and spilled into his dining room. It carried a small shed away, causing it to crash apart when it slammed into another small bridge. The flooding also swept away Mattie’s pull-behind trailer.

“This time it was too much, too fast,” said Mattie.

“This is the worst weather we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Luko added.