Crews in suburban Philadelphia have intensified their search for a missing 9-month-old boy and his 2-year-old sister, who were swept away by floodwaters over the weekend. The children, who were driving with their family to a barbecue, were caught in the rising waters caused by heavy rains in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Fire Chief Tim Brewer of Upper Makefield Township announced on Monday that 100 search crew members and numerous drones would be combing the creek and Delaware River in hopes of finding the siblings.
The family, visiting from Charleston, South Carolina, attempted to escape the fierce floodwaters. The father managed to save his 4-year-old son, but the mother, grandmother, and two younger children were swept away. Tragically, the mother did not survive, but the grandmother survived the ordeal. Four other individuals also lost their lives in the flooding, though their identities have not been released at this time.
The community is rallying around the family, offering condolences and prayer support. Colleen Courtney, attending a nearby church conference, expressed her sorrow and offered her prayers. She joins others in the hope that the missing children will be found safe and sound.
The Northeast, already saturated from heavy rains, began the process of drying out on Monday. The weekend’s downpours resulted in flash flooding across states such as New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency and plans to survey the damage in the northwest part of the state. Thankfully, no injuries or major property damage were reported in Massachusetts despite a confirmed tornado touching down in North Brookfield on Sunday morning.
Vermont, on the other hand, encountered historic flooding the previous week. Although there are currently no immediate safety threats, the state’s Emergency Management agency reported six swift-water rescues overnight in addition to monitoring landslide-prone areas due to the heavy rainfall.
The weather forecast predicts more rain for Tuesday, adding to the potential for continued flooding and damage. Meanwhile, the aftermath of Sunday’s storms caused flight cancellations and delays at airports in the New York City area.
Beyond the Northeast, North Carolina also experienced the devastating effects of flooding. A 49-year-old woman lost her life when her car was swept off the road in Alexander County late Saturday night. However, her male companion was successfully rescued from the vehicle.
The impact of the storms extended to Kansas and Missouri, leaving thousands without power. Evergy, Kansas’ largest electric power provider, estimated that it could take several days to restore electricity to all affected customers. This situation raises concerns as more storms, accompanied by stifling heat, are expected in these states early in the week.
The recent flash flooding in Pennsylvania brings to mind the destructive rainfall linked to at least 25 deaths in New Jersey caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida in 2021. Cars were abandoned on washed-out roads, and driving lanes were submerged as muddy waters flooded low-lying houses.
However, it is essential to remember that communities have overcome similar challenges in the past. In 2018, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, experienced heavy rainfall that led to up to 10 inches of water accumulating in a short period. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported during that flooding event.
As the search continues for the missing children in Pennsylvania, communities across the affected states are coming together to support those impacted by the floods, strengthen emergency response efforts, and prepare for potential future weather events.