Major flooding in Philadelphia and surrounding areas; 7 tornadoes confirmed

Flooding in the Schuylkill River was to blame for widespread problems across Philadelphia.

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Friday, September 3, 2021
Ida spawns 7 tornadoes, historic flooding in Philadelphia region
Philadelphia and many other surrounding communities in suburban Pennsylvania are dealing with historic flooding on Thursday

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia and many other surrounding communities in suburban Pennsylvania were dealing with historic flooding on Thursday, while other parts of the area - including New Jersey - clean up after at least seven tornadoes touched down in the region.


Flooding in the Schuylkill River was to blame for widespread problems across Philadelphia after the remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through the area on Wednesday.

The river crested at 16.35 feet. The previous record for the highest crest for the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia was 17 feet back in 1869.

Residents in flood-prone areas of Philadelphia were warned of major flooding early Thursday, and those fears played out in the Manayunk section.

The overflowing Schuylkill River made Main Street and a number of vehicles disappear in Manayunk.

The water picked up speed as the morning went on. More than a dozen parked cars could be seen disappearing in the floodwaters.

Some residents living in apartments along Main Street became trapped and had to be rescued.

By nightfall, the water level slowly started to recede. Around Philadelphia, the latest data showed the Schuylkill River dropping back below flood stage in the overnight hours.

Crews are continuing to pump out water from Vine Street Expressway Thursday night after the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused historic flooding in the Philadelphia region.

In Center City, the Vine Street Expressway (I-676) was partially submerged.

Officials said a major pumping station along the Vine Street Expressway failed and water was not being properly pumped out of the area.

Tree debris was also believed to be clogging some of the drains.

By Thursday night into Friday morning, crews were still hard at work getting the city's major thoroughfare back to normal.

Crews were continuing to pump out water from the Vine Street Expressway after the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused historic flooding in the Philadelphia region.


According to the National Weather Service, at least seven tornadoes touched down in New Jersey and suburban Pennsylvania on Wednesday evening.

In a preliminary rating by the National Weather Service, a tornado that tore through Mullica Hill, New Jersey has been deemed consistent with an EF-3 rating with max winds of 150 mph.

The twister caused extensive damage in the South Jersey community. Approximately two dozen homes in this area have been destroyed and roughly 100 more were damaged. Two injuries were reported.

The tornado touched down near Harrisonville, New Jersey doing mostly damage to trees and limbs before strengthening and moving northeast.

It moved into the Willow Oaks subdivision strengthening further and producing significant damage to trees, as well as serious structural damage to a number of homes.

The tornado continued to the northeast damaging trees and structures along its path before reaching a large commercial dairy farm where extensive damage occurred.

It was on the ground for 12.6 miles before it lifted near Deptford.

Chopper 6 was over Mullica Hill, New Jersey on Thursday morning after a tornado hit the area during severe storms on Wednesday.

An EF-2 tornado with max winds of 130 mph touched town in Montgomery County, Pa. The twister barreled through Fort Washington, Upper Dublin Township into Horsham Township.

Meawhile, at least three people died from the storm in the county, officials confirm.

An EF-1 tornado was confirmed in Edgewater Park, New Jersey.

In Buckingham Township, Bucks County, an EF-1 tornado with max winds of 100 mph touched down in the area.

An EF-0 tornado with max winds of 75 mph was confirmed in Princeton, NJ

In Upper Makefield Township, Pa., officials said an EF-1 tornado with max winds of 90 mph touched down.

The National Weather Service confirmed late Thursday night that the tornado that whipped through Oxford, Pa. was an EF-1 twister with max winds of 95 mph.

A report with further details on these tornadoes is expected to be released Friday afternoon.


Wednesday's storm is being blamed for at least four deaths in Pennsylvania.

Three people were killed in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania due to the storm.

Action News has confirmed that a woman was killed in Upper Dublin Township after a tree came down onto a home. The woman has not been identified.

Further details about the other people who were killed have not been released.

In Bucks County, 65-year-old Donald Bauer from Perkiomenville, Montgomery County was found dead after he drowned inside his vehicle after it went into the floodwaters of the Unami Creek. A passenger in the vehicle was able to exit to safety, police said.

Action News was near Phoenixville, Chester County on Thursday morning as water was freely flowing over the Pickering Creek Dam.


Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday that at least 23 people were killed in flooding across New Jersey as Ida pounded the area with rain and flash flooding.

The deaths were "largely concentrated in central Jersey and a few in the north," Murphy said. He did not release any further details.

The majority of the deaths were individuals who got caught in their vehicles by flooding and were overtaken by the water, according to the governor.

Murphy reminded residents of the dangerous conditions on the roads.

"Do not assume your car or truck can handle it. Do not assume you know how deep the water is. If you must travel, do not drive into flooded areas," he said.