Storm Hits Western PA, State of Emergency Declared

June 3, 2002

Thunderstorms, accompanied by torrential rain and high winds caused widespread destruction in and around Pittsburgh Friday night leading Allegheny County manager Bob Webb to declare a state of emergency.

According to reports from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the National Weather Service estimated that winds up to 105 mph accompanied the thunderstorms that hit the area on Friday,”killing a woman at Kennywood Park and injuring dozens more, tearing up homes and businesses, and leaving as many as 60,000 customers without electricity.”

Meteorologists indicated that most of the damage was caused by a weather phenomenon know as a “macroburst,” a huge blast of air that causes damage from downward pressure, rather than the twisting dislocations which cause most of the damage from tornadoes.

The emergency declaration will permit city and county officials to bypass normal procedures and allow them to obtain emergency equipment and to rebuild damaged infrastructure as quickly as possible.

It also takes some of the pressure off insurers in the region, as homeowners and businesses will be able to call on state funds to help clean up and repair the damages caused by the storm. They’ll also be eligible for low interest loans to repair more substantial damages, that may not be covered under insurance policies.

Insurers are still totaling up the losses from the storms, and no one has released any preliminary estimates of the losses, but Webb was quoted by the Post-Gazette as indicating they would be in the “tens of millions.”|”storm, hits, western, pa,, state, of, emergency, declared

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