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More severe storms could be headed for Butler County

March 29, 2020 News Extra

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A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for Butler and surrounding counties until 6 p.m. today.

The advisory noted wind gusts between 30 and 40 mph - with locally higher gusts at times - can be expected until early this evening. The winds could cause small tree limbs to break or down trees considering recent rainfall and saturated soil.

The watch means the county could receive some of the same type of weather that rolled through 24 hours earlier.

Torrential downfalls Saturday caused flash flooding in parts of the county, closing roads and making for hazardous driving, and causing power outages and flooded basements.

Parts of the county also saw strong winds and hail described as being the size of a quarter or a bit larger. The hardest hit areas seemed to be in the eastern and southern parts of the county.

“It sounded like machine gun fire hitting my (patrol) car,” said Penn Township police Cpl. Jack Ripper of the golf ball size hail that hit about 4 p.m.

The downpour was so heavy that a motorist got stuck in high water on Herman Road between Stutz Road and Simon Drive in Summit Township shortly before 5 p.m.

By the time rescuers got there, the driver had gotten out of the stranded car and was safe in another vehicle, said Rob McLafferty, chief of the Herman Volunteer Fire Company.

“The (motorist) had already called for a tow truck,” McLafferty said, “but the water was too deep for the tow truck.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was notified and a crew shut down the road. The fire department and municipal road crews during the afternoon and evening also closed portions of seven other roads in Summit and Clearfield townships.

Those roads included Stutz, Route 356 at Hinchberger Road, Geibel, Brinker, Clearfield, Osche and Schiebel roads. The roads were reopened by 9 p.m.

In Penn Township, police and road crews closed parts of Dutchtown and Crisswelll roads.

Flooded roads were also a problem in Butler Township. Authorities there reported that on Route 8, below McBride Station, all five lanes were under several inches of water, as were both southbound lanes on Route 8 near Vogel Road.

Myranda Fullerton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, said that between three-tenths of an inch and two or more inches of rain were recorded Saturday across Butler County.

"The flooding was scattered," Fullerton said. "It was dictated by where the stronger thunderstorms moved through."

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