PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Heavy showers and lightning disrupted the U.S. Open, trapped motorists in suburban Philadelphia and likely sparked a fire that killed a man in western Pennsylvania as a storm system swept across Pennsylvania on Thursday.
Forecasters said the storm moved through the region quickly and deposited less rain than feared, diminishing the threat of flooding. The National Weather Service canceled its flood warning for southeastern Pennsylvania at 4 p.m. but forecast more showers through 7 p.m.
State police believe lightning caused a house fire in New Brighton, about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. A woman and small child escaped, but the man was killed after he returned to the home to try to rescue a dog, witnesses said.
"Most of the evidence and information received indicates that it was indeed lightning," said Trooper Luke Nelson, a deputy fire marshal.
Fire officials were trying to determine if two more house fires were caused by lightning. No one was hurt in those blazes, in Cranberry Township, about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh, and in Hanover Township, about 30 miles west of the city.
On the other side of the state, lightning struck a building at Swarthmore College outside Philadelphia about 10 a.m., a spokeswoman said. Firefighters quickly put it out.
While the skies cleared out to some extent by 2 p.m., several trapped motorists had to be rescued from a flooded road in East Norriton Township, outside Philadelphia. Elsewhere, little flooding was reported.
Play was halted at the U.S. Open in Merion around 8:30 a.m., less than two hours into the first round. It wasn't raining as players and spectators left the course, but soon there were thunderclaps over the Merion Golf Club, and lightning and rain followed. Play resumed in the afternoon.
In southeastern Pennsylvania, PECO reported about 1,300 outages Thursday evening, down from 22,000 in the morning. West Penn Power reported about 3,000 still without power in the southwest.
By Thursday afternoon, flight delays had eased at Philadelphia International Airport, where the storm had earlier delayed planes for up to two hours.
Mandak reported from Pittsburgh.