At least four people were dead and three others remained missing on Sunday morning after severe floods on Saturday swept through areas of Pennsylvania.
In a news conference Sunday morning, Tim Brewer, the fire chief of Upper Makefield in Bucks County, said that 11 vehicles were trapped by rising waters on the flooded Washington Crossing Road on Saturday afternoon.
“The flash flood occurred some time after that,” Mr. Brewer said. “We believe approximately 11 cars were on the road. Three were confirmed swept away.”
Eight people were rescued from the cars, and two were rescued from Houghs Creek, he said.
“We have currently three confirmed fatalities, and four are missing,” he added. “We are treating this as a rescue, but we are fairly certain we are in recovery mode at this time.”
An estimated six to seven inches of rain fell on the area north of Philadelphia in less than 45 minutes, Mr. Brewer said.
“In my 44 years, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “When the water came up, it came up very swiftly.”
He said he had always thought that Hurricane Ida, the deadly hurricane that occurred in 2021, was “the benchmark” for severe weather in the area.
“This is the new benchmark,” he said.
He declined to give details about those who died, but confirmed that two of the victims were women and one was a man.
On Sunday, the local Police Department said that its search efforts would continue, with three to four people “still unaccounted-for.”
One additional body was recovered in the creek shortly before 11 a.m. on Sunday, Mr. Brewer said. Emergency workers were still searching for two children from the same family, a 9-month-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, along with one female adult.
And the rainfall was not over just yet, with the National Weather Service reporting on Sunday morning that heavy rainfall and flash flooding “remains a concern” for areas in southeastern Pennsylvania. More rainfall and storms were expected to continue throughout the day. A flash flood warning remained in effect for several counties as of Sunday morning.
Heavy rain and flooding were also expected in areas of Connecticut and Massachusetts on Sunday. Tornado and flood watches were in effect in parts of Connecticut, with “strong thunderstorms” and “excessive rainfall” expected.
This flooding comes just days after a powerful two-day, record-breaking storm devastated parts of Vermont and upstate New York last week, damaging thousands of homes and businesses and causing at least one death in each state.
Storms, fires and floods are becoming more frequent and more severe as a result of a warming climate, experts say. Warmer temperatures allow air to hold more moisture, leading to more intense rainfall and flooding.