Where to get help after Ida floods Philly region

A resource guide for displaced residents, flooding damage and road closures.

Flooding closes the Vine Street Expressway from Broad Street to the Schuylkill River.

Flooding closes the Vine Street Expressway from Broad Street to the Schuylkill River.

Emma Lee/WHYY

The torrential remnants of Hurricane Ida ripped through the Philly region on Wednesday, flooding huge swaths of the city and the suburbs and leading to at least three deaths.

The damage is extensive: Philadelphians woke up to basements underwater, cars submerged and the water levels of the Schuylkill River at a dangerous high unseen in 150 years. Multiple tornadoes touched down in neighboring Montgomery County. Throughout the region, PECO reports more than 60,000 people without power as of Thursday morning.

Here is a resource guide for those impacted by the storm, from emergency displacement services and homeowner relief to roadway closures and utility service changes.

Who’s helping displaced residents

Philly and the Red Cross have opened reception centers

If you or loved ones don’t have a place to stay due to the flooding, visit one of the city’s temporary reception centers. Philly’s Office of Emergency Management teamed up with the Red Cross on Wednesday night to open shelters at two locations:

  • West Philadelphia High School, 4901 Chestnut Street
  • Roxborough High School, 6498 Ridge Avenue

Staff at the centers will also provide guidance on accessing resources and other basic needs. Per city officials, the centers will stay open “through the duration of the storm event.”

Some tips: Bring a change of clothes, toiletries, important documents, any medication you need and your electronic devices and chargers. Pets are welcome, too.

Emergency responders are out in Montco and Bucks

Northeast of the city, Bucks County experienced intense flash flooding that required watercraft rescues overnight. Unlike the storm that pummeled the lower part of the region and upper Northeast Philly in July, Ida’s damage was more spread out.

Gov. Tom Wolf has deployed a handful of emergency responders to the area: National Guard high water vehicles, one of Pennsylvania’s urban search and rescue water rescue teams, and two emergency response teams from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Heavy floods also descended on Bridgeport, in Montco, requiring boat rescues. ​​Emergency crews have closed off bridges between Bridgeport and Norristown.

How to handle power outages and utility disruptions

PECO has reported that roughly 60,000 customers lost power as a result of the storm. The regional electricity provider has activated its emergency response organization — with crews already out working to restore power.

Here’s some basic safety advice from the Pennsylvania Utility Commission about how to deal with storm outages, and here’s a more general guide to navigating flood damage for Philly residents.

How to report flooding to the city

The Philadelphia Water Department’s call center is open. You can reach officials there at 215-685-6300 to report clogged pipes or active flooding on your property. (Pro-tip: If you live right along the Schuylkill, there’s not much they can do about it yet until the water recedes.)

Also, if you’re experiencing flooding, you can share pictures of the damage and fill out a questionnaire online. That will help the city access assistance at the state and federal levels.

How to stay up-to-date on storm recovery

Good news: OEM provides free text updates on emergency situations like this. Just message “stormphl” or “readyphila” to 888-777, and you’ll get regular info from an official source.

What’s closed? Roadways, schools, libraries

Transportation

  • I-676 is completely underwater between Broad and 22nd streets, all lanes of the Center City roadway are closed.
  • Kelly Drive, too: Still underwater, still closed.
  • The Schuylkill River Trail is fully submerged, with water levels at heights not seen in more than 150 years — and still rising. A shelter-in-place order remains in effect for people who live in flood-prone areas. Avoid all roadway travel throughout Manayunk and Northwest Philly near the river.
  • Service on several SEPTA lines has been suspended as the transit authority deals with flooding. Right now:
    • The Manayunk/Norristown Line is suspended until further notice
    • The Lansdale/Doylestown Line is suspended between Link Belt and Doylestown
    • The Paoli/Thorndale Line is suspended between Malvern and Thorndale
    • The Norristown Transportation Center is closed
  • All Amtrak service between Philadelphia and Boston set to depart before 9 a.m. was canceled on Thursday.

Public buildings & spaces

Schools

 

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