Two cars drowned in deep floodwaters on Rt 130 near Maple Ave in Pennsauken

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

Flash flood warnings issued in Philadelphia, surrounding counties

Part of KOP Mall is closed due to flooding; some expressways are shut down

August 13, 2018 - 9:07 am
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UPDATED: 1:45 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, has issued a flood warning until 6:30 p.m. for urban areas and small streams in in the following areas:

  • New Castle County in northern Delaware
  • Camden and Burlington counties New Jersey
  • Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania

Thunderstorms are producing heavy rain over the area. About four inches of rain have already fallen in northeastern Delaware and southwestern Montgomery counties. Numerous road closures due to flooding have been reported in Radnor and Upper Merion. The band of heavy showers and thunderstorms is drifting northward extending along I-476 into the Lehigh Valley.

Additional rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches are possible in the warned area.

Due to the severity of some flooding, a section of the King of Prussia Mall — the lower level of the old section of the mall — has been closed.

Quickly rising floodwaters also left cars stranded in South Jersey.

As the rain fell, the water rose in low-lying areas on Route 130 between Cinnaminson and Pennsauken. 

One driver was on the southbound ramp to the Admiral Wilson Boulevard, when his red Acura stalled-out. 

"There was a lot of water, and the car just stopped," he said.

He said the water was up to his knees. 

A little more than a mile north, police described the floodwaters at Maple Avenue as reaching the roof of a car. Two cars were left swamped in the high water and had to be towed away while crews removed mud and debris, closing the highway for several hours in the process.

The Schuylkill Expressway remains closed between RT 202 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. All lanes are closed. Water has receded, and crews are working to clear the muck from the road.

The turnpike has been re-opened in both directions.

The KYW Traffic Center reports that flooding conditions remain on I-95 at the Betsy Ross Bridge. The left lane is flooded out in both directions.

There has also been serious flooding on the Blue Route, where traffic is jammed from Conshohocken all the way down to Broomal. 

Route 38 westbound is closed at the Route 73 exit because of flooding. 

In Philadelphia, Roosevelt Boulevard near Broad Street is covered in water. 

SEPTA is reporting that service has resumed normal boarding locations on the Norristown High Speed Line, the 102 trolley and the Market-Frankford Line. Residual delays are expected while full operations are restored.

On New Jersey Transit, service has resumed on the River Line.

A travel alert from the Pennsylvania Turnpike advises drivers to be aware of standing water and flooding roadways. Drivers are generally advised to avoid flooded roads and to turn around when encountering standing water. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding of small creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets, and underpasses as well as other drainage areas and low-lying spots.

Numerous reports of water rescues were reported, too. 

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood said Officer Travis Hall was at Copley and Marshall roads on his way back from rescuing stranded motorists, when he found himself in danger. 

"He stepped in front of a submerged sewer inlet he couldn't see," he said. The force of the water pulled Hall into the sewer, feet first, unable to escape. "An unknown bystander grabbed his arm and four public works employees were able to pull him out of the water."

That bystander grabbed Hall's arm, and along with four other public works employees, they pulled the officer to safety.

Hall suffered injuries to his legs, but he was treated and quickly released from the hospital.

Other citizens in the area helped rescue a stranded driver by creating a human chain of five people "with bed sheets that were tied together to rescue this woman from on top of her minivan."

Chitwood said he's seen a lot of flooding before, but has never seen anything like Monday's floods. 

"The forecast was for flash flooding, and let me tell ya, this was flash flooding," he said.

Flooding in Chester County, Pa.
Molly Daly/KYW Newsradio

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the following rivers in Pennsylvania:

  • Schuylkill River at Berne, affecting Berks and Montgomery counties
  • Schuylkill River at Pottstown, affecting Montgomery county 
  • Schuylkill River at Norristown, affecting Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties 

The flood warning for Norristown runs through Wednesday afternoon, or until the warning is cancelled. Minor flooding is forecast. 

Additionally, a flash flood watch is in effect until noon Tuesday for northern Delaware, northeast Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, including:

  • New Castle, Del..
  • Cecil, Md.
  • Camden, N.J.
  • Gloucester, N.J.
  • Hunterdon, N.J.
  • Mercer, N.J.
  • Middlesex, N.J.
  • Morris, N.J.
  • northwestern Burlington, N.J.
  • Salem, N.J.
  • Somerset, N.J.
  • Sussex, N.J.
  • Warren, N.J.
  • western Monmouth, N.J.
  • Berks, Pa.
  • Bucks County, Pa. 
  • Carbon, Pa. 
  • Chester County, Pa. 
  • Delaware County, Pa. 
  • Lehigh, Pa. 
  • Monroe, Northampton, 
  • Montgomery County, Pa. 

For additional updates and weather information, visit http://www.weather.gov/phi.

For all current NWS Watches, Warnings, or Advisories, visit http://goo.gl/xfexUk.

For further information on emergency preparedness, visit http://www.phila.gov/ready.