One Dead As Winter Storm Hunter's Rainy Side Brings Flooding Ahead of Snow

Sean Breslin and Pam Wright
Published: January 12, 2018

The body of a woman was found in a car that reportedly sunk in flooding triggered ahead of Winter Storm Hunter, West Virginia authorities say.

According to TheNewsCenter-TV, the vehicle apparently was traveling on a road in the Ohio River Valley when it went through high water and was swept into a nearby creek. Authorities are searching for anyone else who might have been in the vehicle. 

Water rescues were reported in parts of western Pennsylvania Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The flooding also cut off homes in the town of Sewickley as rivers and creeks rose, and to the north, some vehicles became stranded on submerged roads, the Associated Press reported.

"The flooding is the result of moderate to locally heavy rainfall combined with melting snow and frozen ground, which has caused many rivers and streams to rise," said meteorologist Linda Lam. "In addition, several ice jams have developed, leading to flooding in some locations."

(MORE: Where Additional Flooding Could Occur)

The flooding in Allegheny County forced officials to close several roads, and multiple school districts delayed or canceled classes Friday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Crews pumped water out of flooded homes in Pittsburgh Friday morning – something they don't usually have to do in the winter months.

"Definitely not used to it in January," Chief Jim Barbour of the Option Independent Fire Company told "More along the lines of springtime. It throws a little wrench into the planning but at least it's not too cold out."

(MORE: Get the Latest Forecast for Winter Storm Hunter)

About 10,000 homes and businesses lost power in Pennsylvania Friday morning, and most outages were reported in western parts of the state.

To the south, flooding was also reported in parts of West Virginia overnight.

Western New York Swamped

Areas accustomed to getting heavy snow this time of year received heavy rain instead, which melted snow and caused flooding issues in locales like South Buffalo. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told local media that upwards of 100 homes reported flooding in South Buffalo.

In addition to reports of flooded homes, sewage treatment plants in the Buffalo area were also overwhelmed, forcing some to discharge untreated sewage into nearby waterways, the Buffalo News reported.

South Buffalo resident Ian Murphy said the area is used to wintry precipitation in January, but flooding in the colder months is bizarre.

"I certainly wouldn't have expected it in January," he told the Buffalo News.

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