Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Woman killed after car plunges into Schuylkill River during storm

Heavy rainfall set records, snarled traffic; airport delays continue

Story Highlights
  • A woman was killed after her car plunged into the Schuylkill River Sunday.
  • A survivor said the woman swerved into the river when an oncoming car veered into their lane.
  • The vehicle plunged into the river during a period of heavy showers.

A woman was killed after her car plunged into the Schuylkill River during Sunday night's record-setting rainfall.

Philadelphia police said the Toyota crashed into the river near Boathouse Row at about 11 p.m. Sunday. A 31-year-old man was able to swim to safety, but officers found the 21-year-old woman's body when they pulled the submerged vehicle from the Schuylkill.

Police said this morning that the man who survived told investigators that the woman was driving the vehicle and swerved into the river when an oncoming car veered into their lane.

The woman's name was not released.

More coverage
  • How much rain fell in your area?
  • Rain, power woes mean Philly airport delays
  • The vehicle plunged into the rain-swollen river during a period of heavy showers, but it wasn't immediately known whether the storm played a role in the accident.

    The storm set multiple rainfall records and caused flooding and other problems throughout the region. Between late Sunday afternoon and 3 a.m. today, a total of 8.26 inches of rain fell at Philadelphia International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

    The weather service said 8.02 inches of that rain fell Sunday, setting the record for the most rain to ever fall on a single calendar day at the airport.

    The previous record was the 6.63 inches that fell on Sept. 16, 1999, during Tropical Storm Floyd.

    The rain also easily surpassed the July 28 rainfall record at the airport, which had stood at 3.28 inches, set in 1969.

    And the storm also brought July's rainfall total to 13 inches, breaking the month's old rainfall record of 10.42 inches, set in 1994.

    Runoff from the heavy showers flooded roads that included Route 130 in Gloucester City and ramps between Interstate 95 and Broad Street in Philadelphia. Traffic on major arteries like Routes 295 and 42 was also snarled.

    The weather service issued a flood warning for western Camden County and the west-central part of Burlington County. As of early this morning, minor flooding was continuing along parts of the Cooper River and Pennsauken Creek. Flooding was also reported at some smaller creeks and streams in the area, the weather service said.

    The rain also caused numerous delays at the airport, which lost power in one terminal for several hours.

    Some of those travel woes extended to this morning: Delayed arrivals and departures were continuing, and airport officials said a number of flights -- particularly on American Airlines -- had been canceled due to the severe weather and ongoing electrical problems at Terminal A. Passengers can get more information by calling the airport's flight-information line at 1-800-745-4283 (PHL-GATE).

    Despite the heavy rain Sunday, today's forecast is pleasant: The weather service says to expect sunny skies and a high temperature of 85 degrees.


    Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

    Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

    Emily Babay Philly.com staff
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