Dawn Sustek knew something wasn't right, so she was already under the desk at her office when the blasts of wind arrived Monday morning.
A tornado blew through the mobile home community where she works in the management office at about 10 a.m., severely damaging at least 12 homes in the Cape May County community in South Jersey.
"It was last a freight train coming through, the loudest sound I ever heard," Sustek said.
About 100 miles away and an hour later in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the roof of Children's Village day care center flew off. In the parking lot outside the building full of kids and employees, the strong winds flipped parked cars and threw a dumpster across the lot. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt.
"We hid in a closet," one employee of the day care center in Doylestown said. "It's all destroyed."
Tropical storm Isaias arrived with torrents of rain early Monday, then its winds slammed the entire region as it swept north along the Interstate 95 corridor.
Tornadoes were confirmed in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, and meteorologists continued to receive reports of cylindric winds in numerous neighborhoods.
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“We rarely have tornadoes confirmed this quickly," NBC10 meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz said.
In all, the National Weather Service confirmed at least five tornadoes across the three states. They struck Bucks and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania, Kent and New Castle counties in Delaware and Cape May and Ocean counties in New Jersey.
Later, on Monday afternoon, the flooding began.
In Darby, Delaware County, houses were evacuated because of the overflowing Darby Creek. In the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, the Schuylkill River was expected to reach flood stage by Monday evening. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said he was concerned about homes and businesses along Main Street.
In the Eastwick section of Southwest Philadelphia, dozens of homes were flooded and Thiel said the rescue efforts rivaled Superstorm Sandy eight years ago.
"I have heard people say, it floods down here a lot, but this is different," Thiel said. "This is much more severe flooding I think than folks have seen recently."
In Burlington County, the following roads remain closed due to storm damage:
- Crowshaw Road, between Jones Mill and Route 665 in North Hanover
- Wrightstown-Georgetown Road, between Access Highway and Sykesville Road, in North Hanover;
- Old York Road, between Route 543 and Neck Road, in Springfield (local traffic only);
- River Road, between the water plant and bridge, in Florence;
- Moorestown-Mount Laurel Road in Mount Laurel;
- Levitt Parkway in Willingboro;
- Hainesport-Mount Laurel Road, between Greentree and Academy Drive in Mount Laurel;
- Eayrestown Road, between Landing Street and Municipal Drive, in Lumberton;
- North Maple Avenue in Bass River.
Power outages reaches tens of thousands from Delaware to north of Philadelphia and across South Jersey. In Bucks County, more than 80,000 were without power as of 1 p.m. In South Jersey, PSE&G were reporting more than 40,000 without power.
Isaias was downgraded to a tropical storm from a category 1 hurricane after it made landfall Monday night in the Carolinas, but it remained strong. It was still a tropical storm packing 70 mph winds and heavy rain as it was on top of the Philadelphia region by 11 a.m. Tuesday. The center circulation of the storm appeared to be over South Jersey by 11:30 a.m.
Some neighborhoods in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania were already reporting nearly 8 inches of rain by noon. That's a couple of months worth of rain in a matter of hours.