At least four people were dead and three others were missing Sunday morning after severe flooding swept through parts of Pennsylvania on Saturday.
At a news conference Sunday morning, Tim Brewer, the Upper Makefield fire chief in Bucks County, said 11 vehicles were trapped by rising waters on the flooded Washington Crossing Road Saturday afternoon.
“The flash flood happened some time after that,” Mr Brewer said. “We believe approximately 11 cars were on the road. Three have been confirmed swept away.”
Eight people were rescued from the cars, and two were rescued from Houghs Creek, he said.
“We currently have three confirmed deaths, and four are missing,” he added. “We’re treating this as a rescue, but we’re pretty sure we’re in recovery mode at the moment.”
An estimated six to seven inches of rain fell on the area north of Philadelphia in less than 45 minutes, Mr. Brewer said.
“In my 44 years, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “When the water came up, it came up very fast.”
He said he always thought Hurricane Ida, the deadliest hurricane to hit in 2021, was “the benchmark” for severe weather in the area.
“This is the new benchmark,” he said.
He declined to give details of those who died, but confirmed that two of the victims were women and one was a man.
On Sunday, the local Police Station said that its search efforts will continue, with three to four people “still unaccounted for.”
One more body was recovered in the creek shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday, Mr. Brewer said. Emergency workers continued to search for two children from the same family, a 9-month-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, along with one female adult.
And the rain isn’t over yet, with the National Weather Service reporting Sunday morning that heavy rainfall and flash flooding “remains a concern” for areas in southeastern Pennsylvania. More rainfall and storms were expected to continue throughout the day. A flash flood warning remained in effect for several districts as of Sunday morning.
Heavy rain and flooding were also expected in parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts on Sunday. Tornado and flood watches were in place indeed in parts of Connecticut, with “severe thunderstorms” and “excessive rainfall” expected.
This flooding comes just days after a powerful two-day, record storm devastated parts of Vermont and upstate New York last week, damaging thousands of homes and businesses and causing at least one death in each state.
Storms, fires and floods are becoming more frequent and more severe as a result of a warming climate, experts say. Warmer temperatures allow air to hold more moisture, leading to more intense rainfall and flooding.