By Keith Gushard
The National Weather Service has put northwest Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio under both a high wind warning and a flood warning later today as Hurricane Sandy is expected to make later today and there is the potential for local damage.
“With the ground already saturated and winds in excess of 50 miles per hour we’re not sure what trees may get knocked over,” said Allen Clark, Crawford County’s Emergency Management Agency director.
As of 9:30 a.m., there were no reports of any localized road flooding in Crawford County, Clark said. There was only one report of a tree down on wires and that was in the Blooming Valley area.
The high wind warning is in effect until 4 p.m. Tuesday as winds with be out of the north to northwest from 16 to 30 miles per hour with gusts to 40 mph today, but increase this afternoon through Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service office in Cleveland. Wind speeds will increase to 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 70 mph possible.
A flood watch for the region is in effect through Tuesday as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy will produce widespread moderate to heavy rains locally, according to the National Weather Service.
Rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches are expected with localized amounts of 4 to 5 inches possible between today and Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
“We’re taking it seriously, but we’re waiting right now,” Clark said.
Area emergency services offices will confer by phone with the National Weather Service office in Cleveland at 11 a.m. about an update on the forecast track and what precautions to take, Clark said.
French Creek at Mercer Street in Meadville was at a depth of 7.18 feet as of 9:15 a.m., well below its flood stage of 14 feet. Though the creek has risen from 3 feet as of 9 a.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service is forecasting the creek to crest at 9 feet on Thursday morning. That crest would be 5 feet below the flood stage of 14 feet.