Gov. Wolf requests major disaster declaration for damages from remnants of Ida

Cleanup efforts continue in Montgomery County as the devastation in the area becomes more evident to local business owners.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf toured the Bridgeport neighborhoods that were devastated by Tropical Storm Ida. Many families and business owners are still picking up the pieces days after the floodwaters receded.

Bridgeport is one of several areas in Montgomery County that was submerged in feet of water when the Schuylkill River flooded to near-record levels last Thursday. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said the river swelled to 16.2 feet, a mark that had not been reached in a century. 

Wolf signed an emergency proclamation ahead of the storms from Ida, saying the order would provide emergency relief during and after the storm. 

Rescue crews in Bridgeport were spotted using dinghies to navigate through flooded streets to save people who were trapped inside their homes. In one rescue, emergency crews ushered stranded residents down a ladder from a second-story window. 

Locals shared their stories of harrowing water rescues with FOX 29's Steve Keeley Wednesday morning on Good Day Philadelphia. Mike Wood, a Bridgeport resident, said he drove his truck into floodwaters to save a woman who was clinging to a pole.

Sylvia Wood, another Bridgeport resident, told Keeley that a neighbor drown in the flood when no one could reach him. Wood wondered if lives would have been saved if there was an evacuation warning given to Bridgeport residents. 

"If there was a warning, some kind of an emergency system, maybe, ya know, people would have been out of here," Wood said. 

Gov. Wolf requested that President Joe Biden declare a major disaster in Pennsylvania.

"I am requesting a federal disaster declaration because Pennsylvanians and our communities need and deserve critical support as they recover from significant damages to their homes and public infrastructure," Gov. Wolf said. "This storm brought historic rainfall and flooding, as well as rare tornadoes, devastating many communities. We believe we meet the federal government’s thresholds based on the damage assessments conducted so far, so this request is another necessary step in the process to recover from the impacts of this terrible storm."  

A week removed from the devastating flooding, forecasters expect another round of storms on Wednesday to drench southeastern Pennsylvania. A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for most of the Delaware Valley ahead of the storms that could dump up to 2 inches of rain on already saturated grounds.




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