BOYERTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A series of storms socked the Northeast with heavy rains and strong winds, causing the deaths of a boy and his pregnant mother whose car was swept away by floodwaters while she was on the phone with emergency officials.
The rain started falling Thursday and continued through early Friday in most areas. The storms quickly intensified, causing minor to major flash flooding in several states and possibly spawning a tornado in a southern New Jersey town.
Authorities say a car driven by a pregnant woman in Pennsylvania was swept down the Manatawny Creek for about a half-mile Thursday night. She was on the phone with emergency workers for about 45 minutes, Douglass Township Police Chief John Dzurek told The Reading Eagle . Numerous flooded roadways made it difficult for responders to reach her during the ordeal, Dzurek told the newspaper.
A firefighter who was put in contact with the woman was able to stay on the phone with her for several minutes before they lost contact, Dzurek said.
The last thing she told the firefighter before the call dropped was that the nose of her car was starting to go down into the water, he said.
Emergency workers found the car in a tributary nearly five hours later. The bodies of woman and child were removed on stretchers, but the car remained in the creek Friday morning.
The names of the woman and her son have not been released.
Authorities have given conflicting reports on the boy’s age as either 8 or 9.
Floodwaters also closed several streets in the Pittsburgh area Thursday night, but most had reopened by morning. The storms also knocked down trees and power lines, causing sporadic power outages across the region.
Portions of southeastern Massachusetts were hammered by heavy rain overnight, with the National Weather Service reporting that more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) fell over a six-hour period in Plymouth. Some road closures were reported, but no injuries. A flood warning was in effect for Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, until midmorning Friday.
In New Jersey, National Weather Service investigators were examining whether a tornado touched down in Mount Laurel Township on Thursday evening. Trees were toppled and radar indicated the possibility of a tornado.
Parts of New Jersey received more than 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) of rain from the storm.