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Torrential Downpours Cause Flash Flooding; Many Area Roads And Schools Closed

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Another round of powerful rain storms moved through the region causing flooding, downed trees and mud slides Thursday. The band of showers was only about 30 to 40 miles wide but dumped nearly an inch of rain per hour in some spots during the overnight hours.

Many area roads were closed, including the Schuylkill Expressway eastbound which was shutdown between the Blue Route and Girard Avenue for several hours leaving many drivers stranded. Dozens of other local streets and neighborhoods were also flooded as rivers and creek overflowed their banks.

PennDOT and Pa. Turnpike Commission urged drivers to avoid all unnecessary travel in eastern Pennsylvania, including the area from Harrisburg north to the New York border, east to the New Jersey border and south to the Maryland border. Drivers that must use the road were asked to proceed with caution and avoid standing water.

Mass transit also took a big hit and as of 1 p.m. SEPTA had stopped running trains on the following regional rails: Lansdale/Doylestown, West Trenton, Warminster, Manayunk/Norristown, Chestnut Hill West and Cynwyd lines.  SEPTA expects service on all six of these Regional Rail lines to resume for the start of the service day on Friday, September 9, 2011.

A number of SEPTA bus routes remain on detour due to flooding. Bus detours are updated in real-time and listed on SEPTA’s Website at www.septa.org. Passengers can also call SEPTA Customer Service at (215) 580-7800 for assistance.

Flooding and current road conditions are causing delays for CCT Paratransit customers as well.

Traffic and Transit | Weather | School Closings

The city continues to watch the Schuylkill River this afternoon as more flooding is expected when the river crests later this evening.

Philadelphia’s streets department says there’s a good chance that the river drives will remain closed until Friday because of additional flooding concern.

In addition, Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews says the Army Corps of Engineers will be releasing water from the Blue Marsh Dam in Berks County and that will exacerbate flooding for the Schuylkill River and the Perkiomen and Wissahickon Creeks.

Flooding, downed trees and mud slides causing multiple road closures on state roads, and as a result, PennDOT and Pa. Turnpike Commission are strongly urging motorists to avoid all unnecessary travel in eastern Pennsylvania, including the area from Harrisburg north to the New York border, east to the New Jersey border and south to the Maryland border.

Several area schools also closed for the day while others opened late. For a complete list on school closings, click here.

The FAA was reporting delays at Philadelphia International Airport of up to an hour.

Reported by Kim Glovas, KYW Newsradio

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