Delaware Valley bracing for flooding, severe storms, tornado threat as Ida moves into region

Tropical downpours from Ida will produce flooding on creeks, streams and rivers Wednesday night into Thursday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Rain from Ida moves into Delaware Valley
Rain started to move into the region Wednesday morning with flash flooding and tornadoes possible.

BRIDGEPORT, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Residents across the Delaware Valley are bracing for flash flooding, possible tornadoes and severe storms from the remnants of Ida.

The rain started to move into the region early Wednesday morning.

In West Norriton Township, Bill Baker and his wife were busy tying down their outdoor items Tuesday in anticipation the Schuylkill River rising over its banks.

"The flood range is 13 feet, they're calling for 17 feet. If it goes to 17 feet, I'll have 28 inches in the garage," said Baker.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida are expected bring torrential rain to parts of the region starting Wednesday.

It's something emergency management crews around Montgomery County are prepared for as well.

West Norriton Township Emergency Management Director Jason Bobst says anyone living along the Schuylkill River needs to keep an eye out when the rain begins. He advised residents living in the Riverview Landing and Arrive apartment complexes to move their cars.

Here's what to expect

  • Mostly cloudy and humid with some light rain or showers likely during Wednesday morning. There will be a break in the action where it's not doing much during the late morning hours into the first part of the afternoon.

  • But by late afternoon, heavy downpours and thunderstorms will begin developing as the remnants of Ida approach the viewing area.

  • Severe weather including tornadoes is a good possibility for areas south of the city.

  • Flash flooding is most likely north and west of the city.

  • As for rainfall totals, expect 4 to 6 inches across our far western counties, 2 to 4 inches up and down the I-95 corridor, and 1 to 2 for most of South Jersey and Delaware.

"We've seen storms within the last seven years that we've had water almost up to the bike trail, which puts almost all those apartment buildings underwater," said Bobst.

Tim Boyce, the Delaware County director of emergency services, says shelters at community centers will likely be opening Wednesday morning.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida are expected to drop a few inches of rain across the region.

Over in Bridgeport, shop employee Carmen Alvarado of Suzi-Jo's Donut Shop says the last time heavy rains impacted the area, Bridgeport looked like a rolling river. But that section of Montgomery County is just one of the usual suspects prone to local flooding in the Delaware Valley.

There is no shortage of locations along the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers vulnerable to flooding whenever rain storms roll through.

And that certainly stands for smaller waterways, like Darby Creek, according to Darby Borough Manager Mark Possenti.

"Usually what happens when we flood, we lose MacDade Boulevard first," he said. "Once we lose MacDade Boulevard, the water makes its way down. We will lose Chester Pike Bridge, which is right there on Ninth Street. And then once we lose Chester Pike, then we lose the Pine Street Bridge, and then once we lose the Pine Street Bridge, the town is actually cut in half."

RELATED: Bucks County residents raise concerns ahead of potential flooding from Ida

Some of the newer construction near the Darby Creek is built on stilts, but nearby stores like Fibbers Suds and Soda do not fall into that category. Owner Mike Truong described the impact after Isaias hit last summer.

"Last year, we got around seven or eight feet (inside the store)," he said.

Possenti hopes the borough will not have to mandate targeted evacuations, but at this point, he is not feeling very optimistic.

ALSO RELATED: Experts share tips on how to prep your home for a potential flood

"It's very tough. It's a tough decision to make, nobody wants to leave their homes. But we have to make sure the residents are safe," he said.

On Tuesday night, Governor Tom Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency in anticipation of the storm.

"This dangerous storm continues to have devastating impacts across the South and as it heads toward Pennsylvania, we are expecting significant rainfall across the state. This proclamation will allow for our emergency preparedness teams to provide any support needed throughout the storm and its aftermath," Gov. Wolf said.

For more on what to expect, watch your latest AccuWeather forecast below:

AccuWeather says tropical downpours from Ida will produce flooding on creeks, streams and perhaps rivers on Wednesday and Thursday.