A woman, who is a Tamaqua native, and her two young daughters died during flash floods Friday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
Kimberly (Mateyak) Griffith, 45, of Plum, Allegheny County, and her daughters, Brenna Griffith, 12, and Mikaela Griffith, 8, died tragically in their minivan when it became submerged in water so deep that would-be rescuers floating in a boat directly above it didn't know it was there.
The flash flood engulfed cars on Washington Boulevard.
In all, four people died.
Besides the Griffiths, killed in a separate situation was Mary Saflin, 72, of Oakmont, Allegheny County. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, she used her cell phone to call relatives to tell them water was rising around her car. Her cell phone then cut off.
About 2 1/2 inches of rain fell in one area of Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon, while other sections of the city got less than an inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
Four drains intersect with Washington Boulevard and they reportedly became clogged with sediment and debris.
Water quickly rose to levels of nine or 10 feet, according to rescue workers. Many motorists clung to trees or poles and were saved.
Washington Boulevard is at the bottom of a hill. With the blocked drains, it was noted that the area filled like a bathtub.
The three members of the Griffith family were pronounced dead inside their van at 6:10 p.m. by a coroner. By that time, water had been receding.
The body of Saflin was washed into the Allegheny River and was found on a river bank on Saturday.
Kimberly was married to Chris Griffith. They have two other children, a daughter Emily and a son Christian.
She was employed as a school nurse for the Penn Hills School District.
She is a daughter of Charles and Sallie Mateyak of Tamaqua.