Flooding in Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Forces Water Rescues, Strands Drivers, Stops Trains

Ron Brackett
Published: June 20, 2019

Overnight flooding in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on Thursday forced people from their homes and left drivers stranded on highways.

The storms were part of severe weather causing problems in many parts of the United States. Landslides closed roads in Ohio, and flooding cut off homes in Bethany, Illinois, southeast of Springfield.

Police dive teams were called in to rescue Bethany homeowners stranded by rapidly rising water, the Decatur News & Review reported. Bethany Police Chief Chris Nichols said four people and a dog were rescued. At least one car was submerged in rising water.

In southwestern Ohio, the heavy rain caused a landslide on a Cincinnati-area parkway, AP reported. Another landslide closed part of State Route 7 in eastern Ohio's Jefferson County. Roads also closed Wednesday night in Columbus and part of Interstate 71 near Grove City Wednesday night.

About 60 homes were evacuated in Southampton, New Jersey, and Burlington County officials declared a state of emergency after flooding took place in Southampton, Pemberton Township, Pemberton Borough, Lumberton, Medford, Mount Laurel, Burlington City and Mount Holly, nj.com reported.

"It’s the first house I’ve ever had in my life. It’s gone. I don’t know what I’m going to do," Craig Boron told WCAU as he stood in a couple feet of water surrounding his Southampton home.

Floodwaters were waist-high as rescuers used boats to take residents from their homes in Westville, New Jersey, WCAU reported.

“I grabbed my rabbit, I grabbed the dog, I grabbed all the food as possible, and just waited for them to bring the boats to us to get out,” Westville resident Jessica Archer told KYW-TV.

Boats also evacuated about 50 people stranded in their homes by floodwaters in Vincentown in Southampton Township, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

There were also reports of flooding in Lumberton and Columbus, New Jersey, and in Bensalem, Pine Hill, Pennsauken and Burlington City in Pennsylvania.

In Camden County, firefighters responded to 242 calls and pulled residents from the first-floor of flooded homes in places like Cherry Hill, Haddonfield and Barrington. No serious injuries were reported.

Members of the Cherry Hill Fire Department evacuate residents from the flooded Kingston Estates neighborhood in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on Thursday, June 20, 2019.
(Cherry Hill Fire Department/Facebook)

A number of highways and roads were closed by flooding in the greater Philadelphia area.

Cars were stranded in high water on Interstate 295 near Bellmawr, New Jersey, and National Park, New Jersey, according to WPVI.

(MORE: Scattered Severe Storms, Flooding Rain Expected Along the East Coast Thursday

"It went up to my calves when I walked out of my car and that was not even the deepest part closer to the median of the highway. I saw the one police officer walk through and it was up to his knees," Brian Nederostek of Linwood, New Jersey, told the station.

Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen told nj.com there were about 70 water rescues from midnight to 7 a.m, mostly of people trapped in vehicles on White Horse Pike, Black Horse Pike, Interstate 295 and Route 38.

Southbound lanes of I-295 reopened about 6:45 a.m., and one northbound lane reopened shortly after that.

Westbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike approaching Malvern were closed after a mudslide caused a tractor-trailer to jack-knife, according to KYW radio.

Most train service was knocked out because of flooding and storm damage between eight stations from Lindenwold to Broadway in Camden, the Port Authority Transit Corporation said. Several stations flooded, and stone that holds the tracks in place washed away in places, PATCO tweeted.

The heavy rain caused the roof of a grocery store in Flourtown, Pennsylvania, to collapse, WPIV reported. Employees of the Acme Market were able to get out safely.

The flooding also caused school buses to run late.

A slow-moving cluster of heavy rain parked over parts of southeast Pennsylvania and New Jersey late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning, according to weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Erdman. Philadelphia International Airport picked up 4.04 inches of rain in just 3 hours from roughly midnight through 3 a.m. EDT. The National Weather Service noted this was more rain in three hours than the average for the entire month of June, 3.43 inches.

A lightning strike is the suspected cause of an overnight apartment fire in Voorhees Township, New Jersey.

“All of sudden the lightning struck right above the roof. I turn over to the side and look out the window and I saw amber,” resident Justin Eisenmann told KYW-TV. “I saw smoke. I called 911, pulled the fire alarm, I started knocking on every door and we made sure everyone got out.”


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