Massive search is underway for missing children swept away in suburban Philadelphia flash flood

WASHINGTON CROSSING, Pa. (AP) — Crews in suburban Philadelphia on Monday intensified the search for a missing 9-month-old boy and his 2-year-old sister, swept away after weekend rains swelled the banks of a creek while they were driving to a barbecue with their family.

Upper Makefield Township Fire Chief Tim Brewer said Monday the effort would be a “massive undertaking” and that 100 search crew and numerous drones would be looking for the siblings along the creek that drains into the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The children are members of a Charleston, South Carolina, family that was visiting relatives and friends when they got caught in a flash flood Saturday, Brewer said earlier.

“As they tried to escape the fierce floodwaters, Dad took his 4-year-old son while the mother and the grandmother grabbed the two additional children,” he said. The father and son were “miraculously” able to get to safety. “However the grandmother, the mother, and the two children were swept away by the floodwaters,” Brewer said. The mother was among those later found dead.

The grandmother survived, Upper Makefield Police said in a social media post. But the mother of the two children died. Four other people died in the flooding, but it was unclear who they were. Victims’ names have not been released.

Another news conference is planned for Monday afternoon.

An already saturated Northeast began drying out Monday after drenching rain over the weekend resulted in flash flooding in parts of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency Sunday and planned to tour damage early Monday in the northwest part of the state.

A confirmed tornado touched down Sunday morning in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, but no injuries or major property damage were reported. In New Hampshire, where some roads caved in several towns, heavy rain postponed Sunday’s NASCAR race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway by a day.

Vermont reported no immediate safety threats following historic flooding nearly a week ago that dumped up to two months’ worth of rain in two days. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg planned to visit the state later Monday.

More rain was in the forecast for Tuesday.

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