Economy
6:51 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Mon Wharf Goes Under, 10th Street Bypass Stays Open

When it comes to flooding downtown you can consider Pittsburgh lucky when it comes to Hurricane Sandy.

While there is a flood warning in effect for the Youghiogheny River in Connellsville and for the Conemaugh River in Seward, it seems Pittsburgh has avoided major flooding from Hurricane Sandy and the many of the other predicted impacts of the storm.

Lee Hendricks, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said warnings were issued, but no rivers are expected to flood downtown.

“We have a flood advisory in effect for the Ohio River at the point in Pittsburgh. We’re looking for the river to crest at 21.9 feet early Wednesday morning,” Hendricks said. “This will keep it just below the stage that would affect the 10th street bypass in Pittsburgh. However, we are going to be flooding the [Monogahela] parking wharf.”

According to the National Weather Service, the water has to get to 22 feet for the 10th street bypass to flood. As for the parking wharf, Hendricks estimates it will take a “few days” to have it back to normal.

While the majority of the storm has come and gone through the region, there are still remnants that have yet to pass. But these remaining pieces of the storm are expected to have little impact hydrological on the region-- the National Weather Service predicts that 2.5 to four inches of rain will fall in the Pittsburgh region before the superstorm moves on.

While those numbers would usually lead to a flooding scenario for the region, that’s not the case this time.

“We were actually rather fortunate with this event with getting more snow in the mountains of West Virginia and the southern mountains of Pennsylvania than we really expected,” he said. “That has actually helped us out, with precipitation falling as snow rather than rain. So that has actually decreased the amount of water that’s come into Pittsburgh.”

Hendricks said it wasn’t just the snow.

“Thankfully, we were fairly dry, and the rivers and streams were all fairly low prior to the onset of this weather system, so that helped things out a good bit.”