Saturday, December 20, 2014

Road flooding leads to rescues

4 to 6 inches of rain may have fallen in some suburban towns during morning thunderstorms.

Stranded motorists needed rescue from flooded roads this morning, as heavy rains caused havoc around the area, disrupting airport and SEPTA service.

Montgomery County reported about 30 calls to assist motorists from vehicles on flooded roads, with about eight to 10 involving threateningly high water, according to a 911 supervisor. No injuries were reported.

Stranded cars were also reported in Southampton, Bucks County; Gloucester City, Camden County; and Woodbury and Deptford, Gloucester County, according to the Breaking News Network, a tip service.

When the main floor flooded at the Virtua Center for Health & Wellness in Washington Township, Gloucester County, the building was closed for the day.

More coverage
  • Rains, records keep falling
  • Philly p.m. forecast: 'Big storms are gone'
  • How much rain fell where you live?
  • Photos: Severe thunderstorms slam area
  • Latest information on New Jersey road conditions
  • Storms brought heavy rain throughout the area -- as much as four to six inches in some parts of the Pennsylvania suburbs this morning -- and even triggered tornado warnings for Chester and New Castle counties around 7 a.m., and for Ocean County around 10:30 a.m.

    Indeed, some oaks were toppled, a trailer was flipped, and a Moose Lodge was damaged near Manahawkin, possibly by a possible tornado.

    Flash flood warnings were in effect through mid-afternoon, even after the heavy rain was expected to end.

    Radio and TV reports cited flooding on all sorts of roads, including the Blue Route near Villanova, Trooper Road in Audubon, Montgomery County, Gulph Road in King of Prussia, the Schuylkill Expressway at Vare Avenue, and both directions on parts of Routes 42 and 130 in South Jersey.

    "Some locations from around Exton to Valley Forge to Blue Bell may have received up to five or six inches of rain," according to the National Weather Service. "An additional inch or two of rain is possible at some locations."

    Coatesville, in Chester County, actually had 6.53 inches by 10:18 a.m. -- with four inches of just by shortly after 7 a.m. -- according to a National Weather Service spotter.

    See: "How much rain fell where you live?"

    Outages peaked at about 6,000 around 9:30 a.m. for Southeastern Pennsylvania, mostly in Chester and Delaware Counties, according to Peco. By 11:30, the number was down to about 1,200, mostly in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

    Power is expected to be fully restored by the end of the day, said spokeswoman Deb Yemenijian.

    Weather-related issues persisted on SEPTA for hours. Service on the Manayunk/Norristown line was not fully restored until after 3 p.m., and delays were reported in the morning on the Paoli/Thorndale line due to high water, and on the Wilmington/Newark line due to signal problems. (For latest alerts, go to SEPTA.org.)

    To check flights in and out of Philadelphia International Airport, go to PHL.org.

    The Vine Street Expressway (I-676) was still jammed shortly before 8:30 a.m. after the removal of a tractor trailer that jack-knifed on a ramp to the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76).

    For more on the forecast, go to Philly.com's weather page.

    If you have dramatic photos of this morning's storms, please send them to stories@phillynews.com.

    Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

    Peter Mucha Philly.com
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