BOYERTOWN, Pa. — A series of storms socked the Northeast with heavy rains and strong winds, causing the deaths of a 9-year-old 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 some areas. Thursday’s storms quickly intensified, causing flash flooding in several states and spawning a tornado in a southern New Jersey town.
A car driven by a pregnant woman in Pennsylvania was swept down the Manatawny Creek for about a half-mile on Thursday. 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, as the current started to float police vehicles, Dzurek said.
A firefighter who was put in contact with the woman, who was identified as 31-year-old Pamela Snyder, 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 nearly five hours later. The bodies of Snyder and her son Preston Dray were removed on stretchers, but the car remained in the creek Friday morning.
Family members told police she was about eight months pregnant.
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 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 confirmed a tornado touched down in Mount Laurel Township on Thursday evening. It’s the second small tornado in the southern New Jersey town in less than a week. Thursday’s tornado was an EF-1, which reaches wind speeds of 90 mph.
Parts of New Jersey received more than 3 inches of rain from the storm.