The northeastern United States experienced severe thunderstorms this past weekend. Five people have died in flooding in the state of Pennsylvania. A nine-month-old baby and his 2-year-old sister are still missing.
Tornado warnings were also issued in several East Coast states, and air traffic at New York’s three major airports was temporarily halted due to thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled. More rain is expected in New York and neighboring states on Sunday, in some areas the rainfall can reach 15 centimeters.
The governor of New York advised residents of the state to stay indoors as much as possible on Sunday as heavy flooding is expected. The National Weather Institute NWS has warned residents of the northeastern United States of impassable roads, tornadoes and mudslides.
The largest flash floods occurred Saturday afternoon in the town of Upper Makefield, near the city of Trenton and close to the New Jersey state line. More than 180 millimeters of rain fell in 45 minutes, according to local fire chief Tim Brewer. “I have never experienced anything like this in my 44-year career,” he told a press conference.
The victims were dragged into their cars through the raging waters. At least eleven cars were swept away. The two missing children are from Charleston, South Carolina, and were visiting relatives with their parents and grandmother. They were heading to a barbecue with their parents and grandmother on Saturday when the car they were traveling in got stuck in water.
The father and his 4-year-old son “miraculously” managed to survive, Brewer says. Unfortunately, the mother and grandmother are not. They were dragged with the other two children into the water. The mother and grandmother were later found dead. The children are being searched en masse by at least 150 rescuers. “We continue to search for the two children. We’re not giving up,” Brewer said. “We’re treating this as a rescue operation, but we’re pretty sure we’re in rescue mode right now,” the fire chief said of missing persons survivability.
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