BUCKS COUNTY >> Residents are picking up the pieces after the remnants of Ida slammed the area Wednesday afternoon and evening, dumping more than four inches of rain on the area within a few hours.
Widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches occurred along and north/west of I-95 with a stripe of 6-8 inches or locally higher from Chester County northeastward toward New York City.
Phones were going nuts between the tornado warnings and flood warning alerts as heavy rain and radar indicated tornadoes sent people scurrying for higher ground or the basement.
Today, teams from the National Weather Service confirmed that three tornadoes touched down in Bucks County, one in Buckingham in the area of Route 263 east of Doylestown, a second in Upper Makefield between Washington Crossing and New Hope and the third between Edgewater Park, N.J., and Bristol.
The heavy rain stranded motorists, buckled pavements and closed roads throughout the county. Many roadways were damaged or washed away in the heavy rains that dumped 10 or more inches in some pockets of the county.
Some roads were still under water Thursday morning throughout the county. The rain also sent local creeks and streams out of their banks, flooding local streets and neighborhoods.
In Middletown Township, fire, police and rescue crews conducted water rescues Wednesday night on Periwinkle Avenue and Bridle Road along the Neshaminy Creek.
At the height of the storm, bridges across the Neshaminy Creek were closed between Northampton, Newtown and Wrightstown townships.
In Yardley Borough, which is prone to flooding, the Delaware Canal topped its banks on Edgewater Avenue sending water down Brown Street. The Delaware River also spilled over forcing the closure of Delaware Avenue.
On Thursday morning, police reported some good news.
“We are happy to report that despite rain falling at a 200 year record rate, we have no reports of injury and limited property damage."
Today, attention turns to the Delaware River, which crested at 20.7 feet Wednesday night at Trenton, but is forecast to rise up to 22.2 feet by 2 a.m. Friday morning with minor to moderate flooding expected.
At 22 feet, Route 32 in Yardley is flooded in both directions and up to two feet of water covers portions of Morgan Avenue, Brown Street, Maple Avenue, and Fuld Avenue.
The last time the river crested at 22 feet at Trenton was on Sept. 9, 2011 when the river rose to 22.16 feet.
Delaware Ave. north of Letchworth Ave. and south of Fuld Ave. in Yardley Borough remains closed due to high water. Once the river recedes and debris is cleared from the road, the road will be reopened, according to the borough's FaceBook page.
River Road in Lower Makefield is also closed due to flooding. The road will reopen once the water recedes. Macclesfield Park has also been closed due to the road closures.
Around the State
“The remnants of Ida brought historic rainfall to Pennsylvania over the last several days. This was a rare culmination of events that caused record flooding in many places around the commonwealth. Many people across the state are dealing with the aftereffects of the storm today,” said Gov. Tom Wolf during an update on the storm. “I want to thank all of the emergency personnel who are worked so hard throughout the storm to keep Pennsylvanians safe.
“We have a long road ahead of us. It will take time to complete damage assessments and make assistance and resources available, but we will continue to share information about assistance as it becomes available in the days and weeks ahead. Right now, my administration is continuing to do everything in our power to support local emergency officials as they begin to assess the damage this storm caused in their communities.”
“While the water is receding in most parts of the state, we are still seeing ongoing flooding in the southeast portion of the state, some of which is surpassing record flood levels,” said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield. “We also know that Ida has not only caused significant damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure, but for many it has significantly disrupted lives and families. We continue to work with our federal and county partners to ensure that response and recovery efforts continue to move forward.”
Pennsylvania saw prolific rainfall, both in storm totals and rates. Reports from across the state range from 5 to 8 inches, some falling in a short time. Daily all-time records were broken; specifically, Scranton saw its second wettest day on record and Harrisburg and Altoona recorded their third wettest day.
The National Weather Service will be out surveying potential tornado damage in Chester and Montgomery counties today, as well as three areas of Bucks County.
Rivers and waterways are still high across the state, especially in southeastern Pennsylvania. Several waterways shattered previous crest records, including points along the East Branch of the Brandywine, the Brandywine, the Perkiomen, and the Schuylkill rivers.
Approximately 120 Pennsylvania National Guard members remain on active duty statewide to support local emergency and rescue operations. The Commonwealth Response Coordination Center at PEMA remains activated.
There are 389 roads closed statewide; 243 of these are a result of flooding and many are due to downed trees and limbs as well as utilities. There are 16 major state interstates or expressways closed. All of these roadways will remain closed until it is safe to reopen them to traffic.
“We understand that closed roadways and other impacts from the storm can be frustrating,” said Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula. “Even though the rains have stopped, it is still so important that the public remain vigilant, and allow space for our crews and for emergency workers to do their jobs.”
PennDOT warns motorists not to drive across roads covered with water because even shallow, swiftly flowing water can wash a car from a roadway. Also, the roadbed may not be intact under the water. Never drive around barricades or signs on closed roads – Turn Around, Don't Drown.
The Latest from the Delaware River Basin Commission
MAJOR, MODERATE and MINOR flooding is happening or anticipated at many Delaware River Basin flood forecast locations as the result of precipitation from Ida.
Real-time flood information and flood forecasts are from the National Weather Service (NWS). Visit https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=phi to view detailed real-time & forecasted information.
The forecasts listed below are current as of this morning (Sept. 2) and are anticipated to be updated every 6-12 hours.
Locations in the Delaware River Basin that are currently flooding or anticipated to reach flood stage include:
- Schuylkill River: MAJOR FLOODING is occurring from Norristown to Philadelphia and below Fairmount Dam. MODERATE FLOODING occurred at Berne. MINOR FLOODING is occurring at Pottstown and Reading.
- Mainstem Delaware River: MODERATE FLOODING is predicted at Easton, Riegelsville, Frenchtown and Stockton. MINOR FLOODING is predicted for New Hope-Lambertville, Washington Crossing and Trenton. Action Stage is predicted at Belvidere and Tock’s Island.
- Lower Basin Tributaries: MAJOR FLOODING is occurring on the Brandywine and Christina Rivers and the Neshaminy, Perkiomen and Assunpink Creeks. MODERATE FLOODING was seen on the White Clay Creek.
- Lehigh River: Locations along the main stem Lehigh River reached MAJOR FLOOD stage (Glendon), MODERATE FLOOD stage (Walnutport) and MINOR FLOOD stage (Bethlehem). All appear to be receding as of this morning.
- Bushkill & Brodhead Creeks: Bushkill at Shoemakers reached MINOR FLOOD stage and is receding. MINOR FLOODING occurred along the Brodhead Creek.
- Upper Basin: MODERATE FLOODING is occurring on the Lackawaxen River at Hawley. The Neversink River at Godeffroy is currently in Action Stage but is receding. All other flood forecast locations in the upper basin are not experiencing flooding nor are forecasted to reach flood stage.