Almost 17 years ago, the remnants of Hurricane Ivan flooded the Pittsburgh area, dropping nearly 6 inches of rain in one day, turning streets and roads into rivers, destroying homes and businesses and leaving millions of dollars in damage in its wake.
Better to dig up your galoshes, because another hurricane that begins with the letter “I” is targeting this corner of wood.
After hitting Louisiana on Sunday, Hurricane Ida began its northeast march toward the interior of the United States on Monday. It has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but still has plenty of rain to pour before heading back to sea. It is expected to arrive in the Pittsburgh area early Wednesday, and the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the counties of Washington, Greene and Fayette, as well as other parts of the Pittsburgh area, starting at 2 a.m. Wednesday and continuing through the same time Thursday.
Although their names are similar, Ida shouldn’t cause the same level of damage as Ivan. Pittsburgh is expected to receive about 1.5 to 2 inches of rain, with heavier rain expected further south, according to Jenna Lake, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Moon Township. Washington, Greene and Fayette counties can expect 2-4 inch rain, she said.
The ground is already saturated with a treadmill of thunderstorms that have swept over the area, Lake said, so “a lot of rain is going to create a lot of problems.” Residents of the area could see rivers rising on their banks, closed streets and roads, and mops needed for some basements.
“We expect a lot of impacts from this for sure,” said Lake.
Governor Tom Wolf on Monday urged Pennsylvanians to prepare for the storm.
“This storm left more than a million people without electricity and caused catastrophic flooding in the south,” he said. “We’ve seen what this storm can do, and we all need to do everything we can to be ready for whatever it may bring to Pennsylvania.”
West Virginia is expected to be hit even harder by Ida, with 4 to 6-inch rainfall forecast for large parts of the state.