• The victim's Washington home was surrounded by water due to heavy rain
  • The man stepped outside to move his car but never returned home
  • Officials found him dead inside his vehicle a day after his wife called 911

A 72-year-old man was found dead inside his car after flood waters rose and surrounded his home in southwest Washington. The man had stepped outside his house to move his car to higher ground but unfortunately did not return alive.

Several parts of Washington state experienced heavy flooding over the weekend due to heavy rain. Homes were damaged, roads and highways were closed and many areas were at risk of facing landslides and avalanches. As the extreme weather caused chaos, floodwaters began surging around the residence of 72-year-old Delbert Pratt in the 700 block of North River Road in Cosmopolis, according to the Associated Press.

At around 5:45 a.m. on Jan. 7, Pratt decided to move his vehicle from the driveway to higher ground to avoid the rapidly rising floodwaters. When his wife saw that he did not return home after a while, she called 911 and reported him missing. However, law enforcement officials were unable to reach the area because of the flooding around their residence.

“District 15 firefighters who live in the area and family members checked the area and were unable to locate the vehicle or Mr. Pratt,” said a statement from the Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office on Facebook.

Having found no sign of Pratt, family members and officials feared that his car may have gotten caught up in the fast-moving waters and slipped into a nearby embankment, as reported by The Olympian.

Waters receded the following day, and the search for Pratt was carried out in full swing. Officials from the Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office and Fire District 15 firefighters found Pratt’s vehicle about 100 yards west of his driveway.

Pratt was found dead inside the submerged vehicle. Floodwaters had receded by this time, and officials were able to bring a tow truck to move Pratt’s vehicle.

“Investigators believe the vehicle was swept off the driveway by strong moving floodwaters and quickly submerged into deep water,” said an update from Undersheriff Brad Johansson on Facebook. “The family members of Mr. Pratt have been notified of this tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Pratt.”

The extreme weather on Jan. 7 also caused a home in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood to slide down a hillside, leaving a man trapped inside the home’s basement. The Seattle Fire Department said rescuers arrived at the spot and managed to bring the man to safety.

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