Flood Safety and Preparedness

Flooding in Pennsylvania Kills Pregnant Mother, Child

By Associated Press

July 12 2019 07:31 AM EDT

weather.com

A Pittsburgh Public Works crew works from a front-end loader to release the high water accumulated on Route 51 near Edgebrook Avenue, Thursday, July 11, 2019, in the Brookline neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
(Darrell Sapp/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

At a Glance

  • A pregnant mother and her son die after their vehicle was swept away in floodwaters.
  • The heavy rains that hit western Pennsylvania flooded roads, triggered mudslides and caused a sinkhole that forced a preschool to evacuate.
  • West of Philadelphia, some drivers were trapped in their cars as floodwaters rose.

A pregnant mother and her 8-year-old son died Thursday after their vehicle was swept away in floodwaters caused by heavy rain that pounded parts of western Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh.

Douglass Township Police Chief John Dzurek told news outlets that the mother's car was swept down the Manatawny Creek for about a half-mile Thursday night while she was on the phone with emergency officials. The call then dropped.

After searching for nearly five hours, emergency workers found the car in a tributary. The coroner's office was called to the scene soon after.

The identities of the woman and child have not been released.

The heavy rains that hit the region flooded roads, triggered mudslides and caused a sinkhole that forced a preschool to evacuate.

More than 4.5 inches of rain fell on areas around Pittsburgh, according to the National Weather Service.

Access to UPMC St. Margaret hospital was blocked due to flooding, but ambulances were able to access the hospital using a different entrance, according to tweets by Allegheny County. The road has since reopened.

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In North Huntingdon, a sinkhole opened up behind a KinderCare daycare and preschool and the children were evacuated.

People were driving the wrong way on an exit ramp because a stretch of Route 28 was closed due to flooding.

Emergency crews reported rescuing stranded motorists throughout the area.

O'Hara Township, about 12 miles north of Pittsburgh, has issued an emergency declaration urging all residents to leave low-lying areas.

Further east in Berks and Montgomery counties, more than 6 inches of rain dumped onto the area just before the evening rush, flooding roads and trapping motorists in cars, the National Weather Service said.

A number of vehicle and residential evacuations were underway just before 5 p.m. after the rain-packing storm moved into the region. Officials urged residents to move to higher ground as soon as possible, calling it "an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation."

Someone had to be rescued from the second floor of a home, and several disabled cars were stranded on roads with drivers needing rescue, the Reading Eagle reported. Downed wires are also causing issues.

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