I-76 Eastbound reopens, other roads remain closed

PHILADELPHIA - September 8, 2011

Two mudslides blocked the eastbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway overnight - one at the Girard Avenue Exit and another in Conshohocken. Drivers were stranded in their vehicles for hours as crews worked to clear the roadway.

Flash flood warnings are in affect throughout the Philadelphia area and South Jersey until 11:15 this morning.

Get the latest traffic conditions for your morning commute right now on 6abc.com.

Flood warnings are in affect along creeks, streams and rivers in the Delaware and Lehigh valleys through today and in some places, tomorrow.

SEPTA has suspended Regional Rail service for Warminster, West Trenton, Lansdale/Doylestown and Norristown.

SEPTA says many of its buses are being detoured because of flooding along normal bus routes.

Flooding has also led to the closure of some schools in our region. Find out if your school is closed.

A driver of car got stuck in high water due to flash flooding on the 4500 block of Main Street in Manayunk. Medics transported the driver to the hospital to be checked out. Meanwhile, Kelly Drive remained closed overnight in East Falls due to continued flooding from yesterday's rains.

In Downingtown, high water along the Brandywine creek forced police to move cruisers to higher ground near the police station, located along W. Lancaster Avenue.

At least one rain-related death was reported. Police in Derry Township, Pa., said a man who was removing water from his basement was killed when the house's foundation collapsed.

"The same areas are getting hit repeatedly," by rain, said Larry Nierenberg, a national weather service spokesman who monitors an area that includes Greater Philadelphia and most of New Jersey.

On Wednesday, near Trenton, N.J., he said a half inch of rain fell in 10 minutes. "You get something like that and it can drop 2-3 inches of rain in an hour, and then it will move on."

Lee formed just off the Louisiana coast late last week and gained strength as it lingered in the Gulf for a couple of days. It dumped more than a foot of rain in New Orleans and trudged across Mississippi and Alabama.

Tornadoes spawned by Lee damaged hundreds of homes, and flooding knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people. Trees were uprooted and roads were flooded. Winds fanned wildfires in Louisiana and Texas, and the storm even kicked up tar balls on the Gulf Coast.

At least four people died. Irene was blamed for at least 46 deaths and billions of dollars in damage.

Flood watches or warnings were in place through Thursday night for much of Pennsylvania. About 3,000 residents along the Solomon Creek in Wilkes-Barre were ordered to evacuate due to quickly rising waters, but the creek crested about 4 feet below flood stage and the order was lifted Wednesday afternoon. Rain from Irene also led to evacuations there last week.

Flash flooding shut down dozens of Pennsylvania highways Wednesday and forced the evacuation of some riverfront trailer parks and campgrounds, while state officials braced for potentially worse problems along the swollen Susquehanna River. Other damage on Wednesday included a mudslide in Lancaster County, and two zoo animals that were caught in rising floodwaters in Hershey had to be euthanized.

In New Jersey, where many residents were still cleaning up after Irene, the remnants of Lee were expected to drop anywhere from 2 to 5 inches of rain. There was some flooding along rivers including the Passaic, which breached its banks during Irene and caused serious damage. Heavier flooding is expected Thursday.

Meanwhile, in the open Atlantic, Hurricane Katia brought rough surf to the East Coast but was not expected to make landfall in the U.S. Tropical Storm Maria also formed Wednesday far out in the Atlantic, but it was too soon to tell if and where it might make landfall.

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Information provided by The Associated Press was used in this report.

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