With still another round of potentially severe weather in store for later today, hundreds woke up without power in Indiana County after Tuesday’s round of storms — including a possible tornado in Cherryhill Township.
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh said crews are investigating a possible touchdown in the area of Route 553, near Yellow Creek State Park, then will go to Mercer County to investigate a possible tornado there.
If the Cherryhill Township tornado is confirmed, it would be the third in Indiana County in four days, after Saturday night’s EF-1 tornado in Burrell Township and EF-0 twister in Center Township, both of which were deemed minor and resulted in no injuries.
As for the funnel cloud seen in and around Indiana and White Township late Tuesday afternoon, forecasters in Pittsburgh have no reports that it touched down.
There also were reports of flash flooding in parts of Indiana, Armstrong, Allegheny, Butler and Westmoreland counties. A flash flood warning was in effect in southern Indiana County and some neighboring areas through 11:15 a.m. today, with special mention given to Indiana, Homer City, Apollo and Vandergrift.
“At 8:05 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time), rain was not occurring over the warned area,” the NWS reported. “However, flooding of roads, streams and creeks will continue this morning due to runoff from previous rain.”
A flash flood watch also remains in effect for all area counties for the rest of the day.
Parts of Route 119 in the Josephine area were flooded Tuesday evening.
Power outages abounded this morning. REA Energy said members in southern areas of Indiana and Cambria counties have been affected by numerous outages, with 2,250 members without service at the height of the overnight problem. At noon, REA reported fewer than 10 customers remained in the dark.
Penelec had multiple outages overnight as well. As of this morning 210 customers were without service in Young Township, 78 in Burrell Township, 50 in West Wheatfield Township, and others in Black Lick, Brush Valley, Cherryhill and Green townships and Blairsville Borough.
The National Weather Service is predicting more storms in western Pennsylvania this afternoon and evening, with a continued risk for severe storms with damaging wind gusts, large hail and perhaps tornadoes.
This morning, most of Indiana County was in the “enhanced” area for possible severe storms, along with all of Westmoreland, the southern half of Armstrong County and much of Cambria County, particularly between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
The northern third of Indiana County, northern half of Armstrong and all of Jefferson was listed as having a “slight” risk for severe storms during that same 4 to 9 p.m. window.
“Be sure to pay close attention to the weather today and listen for updates to the forecast and any watches or warning,” the National Weather Service advised.
As the weather service’s Pittsburgh office posted on Facebook this morning, “we must also focus on the threat for flooding, especially in those areas which saw incredible amounts of rain yesterday.”
At AccuWeather, senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said two more days of severe weather are expected to target the corridor from the upper Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic through Thursday.
“As rain and thunderstorms streak from the Midwest to the Northeast into Thursday, the stage will be set for some of the thunderstorms to turn severe each afternoon and evening,” Pydynowski said.
During Tuesday’s storms, a number of Gazette readers shared on social media photos of the funnel cloud and photos and video of large hail in various parts of the county.
The storm caused winds to gust as high as 39 mph at the Indiana County Jimmy Stewart Airport in White Township.
All that happened during a tornado warning that lasted until 4:15 p.m. Indiana Borough officials advised residents on social media “to please monitor weather conditions” and “if necessary, please take shelter.”
There also were delayed dismissals for elementary school students in Indiana Area and Homer-Center school districts Tuesday.
It was busy overnight for first responders in Indiana County and vicinity, according to the county’s Emergency Management agency, which had calls between 4:01 p.m. and midnight — mainly for pumping details — for Cherryhill Township, Indiana, Brush Valley, Homer City, Coal Run, Iselin, Black Lick, Blairsville, Elderton, Creekside, Coral-Graceton, Plumville, Marion Center and Aultman volunteer fire companies.
FirstEnergy utilities, including Penelec and West Penn Power, expected most areas to have service restored during the day today.
REA Energy was reminding its members and the public to never get too close or try to move downed power lines. If the line is on the road or a vehicle, they urged calls to 911 and the local electric utility, be it REA Energy Cooperative at (800) 332-7273 or Penelec/FirstEnergy at (888) 544-4877.