Philadelphia Highway Flooded After Ida Moves Through
Tornadoes touched down in Maryland and in the Philadelphia suburbs. Rain-swollen rivers were still rising. Many were without power.,
Philadelphia is inundated by floodwaters as Ida leaves a trail of destruction in the Mid-Atlantic.
On Thursday morning, people in the Mid-Atlantic states awoke to a trail of destruction left behind by Ida, some of it still ongoing. Tornadoes had touched down in Maryland and in the Philadelphia suburbs, while rain-swollen rivers were still rising.
In the Philadelphia area, where tens of thousands of people were without power, a portion of a major highway running through the center of the city was submerged. The Schuylkill River had reached “major” flood stage overnight, covering nearby roadways, rendering them impassable and leaving cars across the city nearly completely under water.
Apartment buildings sat like islands in newly formed lakes.
“We are still doing water rescues across the city; we’ve done that for the past 15 hours now continually,” said Adam Thiel, the Philadelphia fire commissioner, in a news briefing. “We know that the flooding reached levels that have not been seen in 100 years,” he added. “And potentially this will be a record-breaking flood.”
The mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, emphasized that while the storm may have been record-breaking, it was part of a pattern of disaster caused by climate change.
“While the storm continues to wreak havoc across the region just as it has throughout other parts of the country,” the mayor said, “we must also note that extreme weather events like Ida are not isolated incidents. They are another indication of the worsening climate crisis.”
Ron Harper, 87, said on Thursday morning that he was confined to his 14th-floor apartment in a building near the flooded Schuylkill River. He was told by building management that they would stop running elevators there because the waters were continuing to rise in a garage that serves the building.
“There are two levels of parking, and the water was rushing into that — I could see when I was out walking,” Mr. Harper said.
Some of the hardest-hit areas were in the Philadelphia suburbs. In Montgomery County, officials said at a news briefing that “the size and scope of the damage from this storm has been vast,” with record flooding prompting hundreds of water rescues, and a possible tornado. Three people had died in the county, officials said, two apparently from drowning.
“After last night’s rain, the Schuylkill River and Perkiomen Creek are continuing to rise,” said Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, the chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “I want to emphasize that they have not yet crested. Both waterways have already surpassed all time records.”
Mitchelle Stephenson, a spokeswoman for Annapolis, said a tornado that landed near the city had left about 2,500 residents without power, and that the city had received reports of fallen trees. The fire and police departments had closed streets to assess the damage, according to Ms. Stephenson, who said no injuries had been reported.
Forecasters were concerned about flooded rivers, and Wilmore Dam in central Pennsylvania was “overtopping” at one point with approximately three feet of rainwater, said John Banghoss, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in State College, Pa. About 42,000 residents were ordered to move to higher ground.
Reporting was contributed by Jon Hurdle, Isabella Grullon Paz, Eduardo Medina, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Ashley Wong and Tiffany May.