A pregnant woman and her young son were killed Thursday night when they were caught in flash flooding in Berks County.
The woman, who was in her thirties, and her 8-year-old son were in a car when it was swept away by heavy rains on Grist Mill Road, near Locust Road, in Douglass Township, ABC reported. The car reportedly traveled about a half a mile.
Police told outlets that at around 4: 30 p.m. Thursday, the victim called authorities for help. During the phone call, she said that she and the son were trapped, and that water was rushing into the car, and they could not escape.
Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep a vehicle away, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) website.
Additionally, DHS said, “If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, then stay inside. If water is rising inside the vehicle, then seek refuge on the roof.”
Police report that the victim was on the phone with dispatch for 49 minutes while she awaited rescue. The flood waters reportedly prevented the crew from getting to her.
At some point throughout the 49 minutes, dispatch lost contact with the woman. Later Thursday evening, both the woman and her son were found dead. Police have not released their identities.
ABC reports that early Friday morning, authorities were working to recover the vehicle.
The news of these death comes as a tropical storm is developing in the southeast. Louisiana has already been hit with Tropical Storm Barry, and according to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is slowly making its way north.
DHS offers a few suggestions on how to stay safe, before, during, and after a flood.
If your area is in a flood warning, DHS suggests that the first thing you should do is find shelter. Officials say people should “turn around, not drown” when faced with driving through, swimming through, or walking through floodwaters. Their website also suggests staying off bridges and developing a plan based on the situation.
During a flood, DHS recommends that you make sure that you are in a safe location, following evacuation orders if there are any, pay attention to local reports about flooding, and move to the highest level of your location and signal for help.
For more information on how to protect yourself from flooding, check out this ready.gov/floods.