Record rainfall in Philadelphia; Regatta cut short

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A record amount of rain fell in Philadelphia on Saturday, causing traffic problems on area roads and cutting short the Dad Vail Regatta collegiate rowing competition.

As of 3 p.m., 1.64 inches of rain fell at Philadelphia International Airport, more than the day’s total of 1.48 inches back on May 13, 1948, the previous record rainfall for the day, according to meteorologist Mitchell Gaines at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J.

Rain was tapering off in the mid-afternoon Saturday, and scattered showers were expected into the night, he said. Mother’s Day on Sunday is expected to be mostly dry in Philadelphia, with a chance of showers.

Gaines said he had heard of no reports of any major damages from the rain in the region, but said several streets were flooded and closed in Ocean City, N.J., at about 11:30 a.m., around the high tide.

In Atlantic City, 2 ½ inches of rain fell by 3 p.m. Saturday, and was not expected to topple the record rainfall of 3.12 inches back on May 13, 1948. Wind gusts early Saturday morning on the Jersey Shore were reported to be about 35 mph.

The Regatta continued on the Schuylkill in Philadelphia early Saturday, starting at 7 a.m. But officials announced about 9:20 a.m. that the day’s competition was to end with the last grand final race, the men’s singles, at 10:35 a.m. because of “deteriorating conditions and for the safety of the athletes and the volunteers.”

There were a number of consolation finals scheduled for after that time, running until 2:30 p.m., but those were canceled.

Drexel won four championship races in the first two hours, including the varsity heavyweight eight events – considered the featured races of the day – for both men and women. It was the first-ever gold medal in that race for the women’s team.

The early-morning rain didn’t bother the rowers.

Drexel coach Paul Savell said Friday:  “Of course, we’d all prefer just even conditions, flat conditions, but I really think our team has handled weather and wind well this year. So I’m expecting us to perform without excuses and get out there and row the way we can, race the way we can.”

On the roads, delays were reported on the eastbound side of the Schuylkill Expressway at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday following a crash that shut down travel in that direction for a couple of hours.

All eastbound traffic had been diverted onto Montgomery Drive following the accident, in which a driver lost control and hit a concrete barrier. The highway was reopened after PennDOT made the necessary repairs to the barrier. 

On Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, a jackknifed tractor trailer in the northbound lanes, between the Cottman Avenue and Academy Road exits, caused delays on that highway about 7 a.m. 

KYW Newsradio also reported an accident on the I-95 northbound ramp to Woodhaven Road, in Bucks County, at about 11:45 a.m. and a disabled vehicle in the center lane on I-95 north, at Bridge Street, in Philadelphia, at about 10:50 a.m., also contributing to delays. 

Out in Delaware County, rain and winds brought down tree branches and wires on Baltimore Pike in Chester Heights.

Near Wilmington, Del., one lane of southbound I-95 and the exit for Martin Luther King Blvd. were closed for two hours early Saturday after a fatal hit-and-run of a pedestrian.

The Delaware State Police said the 53-year-old Wilmington man was killed after a hit-and-run motorist in a silver or gray Nissan slammed into him at about 3:30 a.m., then continued driving. Police said it was unclear why the victim was walking on the highway.

The man, whose name was not released pending family notification, was taken by ambulance to Christiana Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead. Anyone with information about the driver is asked to call Sgt. Philip Dzielak at 302-365-8484, or the Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333.

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