Ice causes problems on Allegheny River northeast of Pittsburgh

Jan. 15, 2014 at 3:07 PM
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PITTSBURGH, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Wild temperature swings in western Pennsylvania from bitter cold to unseasonably mild have created an ice problem on the Allegheny River.

Huge pieces of ice carried by flood waters have threatened homes along the river in Madison Township, about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday. Area residents say they had problems getting out because the only escape route after ice blocked Rimer Road was a bike trail with barriers to keep cars out.

"I was surrounded on all four sides, and the only way out was through the trail," John Drayer told the newspaper. "It was impossible to get people out."

A local property owner with a backhoe eventually removed the barriers. The Allegheny Valley Land Trust, which manages the area's Rails to Trails program, gave permission.

Some camps and houses along the river suffered heavy damage from flooding and ice. Drayer said his home is elevated enough that it escaped major damage, but all the steps leading up to the house were covered after the river rose on Sunday and ice tore away a deck.

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