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Sudden, torrential rains struck areas in Bucks County, Pa., trapping people in their cars. Much of the Northeast was experiencing periods of heavy rainfall.
Anna Betts and
Anna Betts reported from New York and Elise Young from Upper Makefield Township, Pa.
Fierce thunderstorms, heavy rainfall and flash flooding wreaked havoc across the Northeast over the weekend, killing five people in Pennsylvania, halting flights at major airports in the New York metropolitan area and downing power lines. In one part of Long Island, five inches of rain fell in less than two hours.
“We are in a very, very unstable weather condition,” said that state’s governor, Kathy Hochul, as she warned of the dangers of driving under flash flooding conditions. “Your car can go from a place of safety to a place of death.”
The worst of the toll was in the suburbs north of Philadelphia, in the area of Washington Crossing — famous as the location where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776. A raging stream of floodwater trapped 11 cars Saturday evening, sweeping three of them away.
The authorities said a family visiting from Charleston, S.C., encountered the severe flash flooding along Washington Crossing Road, as they headed to a barbecue.
At a news briefing on Sunday, Tim Brewer, the fire chief of nearby Upper Makefield Township, said the family had tried to escape the fierce floodwaters, with the father clutching the 4-year-old son, as the mother and grandmother grabbed the two additional children, who were 9 months and 2 years old.
The father and son made it out safely, he said, but the grandmother, mother and the two children were swept away by the floodwaters.
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