Torrential rain brings floods, landslides around Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Torrential downpours turned roads into rivers and triggered landslides on Thursday, blocking access to a hospital for several hours and forcing the evacuation of a preschool when a sinkhole opened up.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties on Thursday and the rain was expected to continue off and on throughout the day. A flash flood watch was in effect until 8 p.m.

About 2 to 4 inches of rain has fallen in areas around Pittsburgh. Another storm will blow in Thursday evening and could bring more rain and powerful wind gusts, with tornados possible, the weather service said.

Access to UPMC St. Margaret hospital was blocked due to flooding, but ambulances were able to access the hospital using a different entrance, according to tweets by Allegheny County. The road has since reopened.

In North Huntingdon, a sinkhole opened up behind a KinderCare daycare and preschool and the children were evacuated.

People were driving the wrong way on an exit ramp because a stretch of Route 28 was closed due to flooding.

Emergency crews reported rescuing stranded motorists throughout the area.

O'Hara Township, about 12 miles north of Pittsburgh, has issued an emergency declaration urging all residents to leave low-lying areas.

Across the state, flash flood watches were in effect from Harrisburg to Philadelphia through late Thursday as potentially strong thunderstorms move in. Damaging wind gusts and even hail are possible.