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Flash flooding inundates roads, wreaks havoc for morning commutes across Pennsylvania, South Jersey

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 6/20/2019 Kevin Byrne

Officials and residents gather on the edge of floodwaters in Westville, N.J., on June 20, 2019. © Matt Rourke Officials and residents gather on the edge of floodwaters in Westville, N.J., on June 20, 2019. Slow-moving thunderstorms spawned a significant flooding event across southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

The flooding turned the early morning commute into chaos, as many roads were closed and rail service was interrupted. One of the main road closures was Interstate 295 in Bellmawr, New Jersey, where numerous motorists became stranded on northbound and southbound lanes due to the rising floodwaters.

Brian Nederostek, a motorist who became stranded, told 6ABC that he was walking in deep floodwaters when he got out of his vehicle.

"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," Nederostek said.

By 8 a.m. much of the floodwaters had receded and traffic has resumed on the highway. Motorists were told to expect some residual delays.

A PATCO train station in Voorhees, New Jersey, was one of several that suffered flood damage and was forced to suspend service. Customers were being told to seek alternate transportation as several routes were suspended.

Flooding caused damage to the track ballast, which is the stone that holds the train track in place, according to PATCO.

Repairs and inspections were underway, but it's unknown when full service will resume, PATCO said on Twitter.

Flood damage at a PATCO train station in Voorhees, New Jersey, forced suspended service on June 20, 2019.  © Provided by Accuweather, Inc Flood damage at a PATCO train station in Voorhees, New Jersey, forced suspended service on June 20, 2019. 

Boats were being used to conduct water rescues in several New Jersey communities, including the town of Westville.

"A small but intense area of thunderstorms developed in northern Maryland and Delaware late Wednesday evening and moved into southeastern Pennsylvania around midnight," AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said. "The thunderstorms then stalled and continuously redeveloped in a corridor from around Reading to the south side of Philadelphia to southwestern New Jersey.

"In the course of just two to three hours, 3 to 5 inches of rain fell, causing widespread flooding. The heaviest of the rain was over by about 4 a.m., but flooding from runoff continues, making for a difficult morning commute. As mentioned, this area was small, as areas immediately surrounding the heaviest rain generally saw half an inch or less."

Philadelphia received over 4 inches of rain within a three-hour span. The city's normal rainfall for the entire month of June is 3.43 inches.

In Flourtown, Pennsylvania, heavy rain reportedly caused the roof of a grocery store to collapse, according to 6ABC. No injuries were reported.

More flash flooding is possible on Thursday as severe storms target the area. AccuWeather meteorologists expect the highest concentration of severe storms to target areas from eastern Pennsylvania to central New Jersey and northeastern Virginia.

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