‘Everything I Worked for Is Gone': Flash Floods Devastate NJ Towns as Rescuers Save Residents from Swollen Creeks

Rescuers arrived by boat in South Jersey towns after flash floods rushed into houses near the Rancocas and Big Timber creeks in Burlington and Gloucester counties.

What to Know

  • Heavy downpours and storms Wednesday into Thursday caused damage to communities throughout the Philly region.
  • Boats needed to be used to evacuate residents from homes in South Jersey.
  • The roof also collapsed on a Montgomery County supermarket.

Gregg Boron and his dogs out of nowhere are homeless, washed out of their house early Thursday morning in flash floods that vanquished an entire neighborhood in Burlington County, New Jersey.

"It’s the first house I’ve ever had in my life. It’s gone. I don’t know what I’m going to do," Boron said through tears, standing in a couple feet of water from the Rancocas Creek that swelled into his Southampton neighborhood.

He never expected flooding of this magnitude, noting that he doesn't have flood insurance.

"Everything I’ve worked for, I’ve been doing this since I was 14, everything I’ve worked for is gone," Boron said. "I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any place to go."

Strong storms hit Wednesday night, causing flooding throughout the region. Many people and pets needed to be evacuated from their homes by boat.

Dozens of residents from 40 or 50 homes in Boron's neighborhood needed rescuing from the sudden flooding as the creek rushed into their houses about 2:30 a.m.

Police and other rescue personnel used boats to get to the homes. But it wasn't just the Rancocas Creek that spilled over its banks.

Farther south in New Jersey, in towns along the Big Timber Creek in Gloucester County, similar rescues took place.

Flooding along the rivers reached near-record-setting levels, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly said.

And so suddenly the water rose, residents said. The only initial warning signs they had were heavy downpours and lightning in the darkness.

Pictures: Floods Force Residents From Homes in New Jersey

Some more rain fell during the Thursday morning rush hour, adding to flooded streets and fears of people forced from their homes.

Lesser flooding occurred throughout the area, including Columbus, Bensalem, Pine Hill, Pennsauken, Burlington City and Haddonfield, New Jersey.

The Rancocas Creek went over its banks in Southampton, New Jersey, causing water to flood the streets. Up the creek in Lumberton, the township emergency services issued an evacuation notice for people near the creek. The Lumberton Municipal Building would serve as a shelter.

Video from the Kensington Estates in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, showed people being rescued by boat as water flooded the street.

The storms also caused the roof of a Montgomery County supermarket to collapse. Employees who were inside the Acme on Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown told the AP the collapse caused pipes in the sprinkler system to break, sending water throughout the business. But all the workers got out safely.

So much rain fell in less than 24 hours that it caused the rain gauge at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly to overflow at 2.71-inches. 

Rain also temporarily slowed drivers along Interstate 95 and the Schuylkill Expressway in South Philly early Thursday and caused Interstate 295 in Bellmawr, New Jersey to be closed for hours at one point. Drivers are advised to turn around and not attempt to go through flooded areas.

NBC10’s Miguel Martinez-Valle reports on a flooding-cuased road closure that left Interstate 295 in South Jersey closed for a period of time Thursday morning.

Flooding and storm damaged stopped PATCO trains to most South Jersey stations for the morning commute.

NBC10 First Alert Traffic Reporter Matt DeLucia is tracking road closures due to flooding and PATCO and NJ Transit lines suspensions.

More rain is expected Thursday, with late day storms possible, before conditions finally clear Friday heading into the weekend.

Follow the NBC10 First Alert Weather team or download the NBC10 app for the latest weather updates.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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