Authorities are in the process of assessing the destruction caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which swept through the Philadelphia region last week.
Determining the cost of the damage will play a role in whether federal relief dollars can be used to rebuild what Ida’s historic flooding and severe winds wiped away.
President Joe Biden over the Labor Day weekend approved emergency declarations for areas in New York and New Jersey, including Gloucester County, the site of a tornado last Wednesday with gusts reaching 150 mph.
On Tuesday, Biden is scheduled to visit Somerset County, in New Jersey, and New York City.
There’s been no word on Pennsylvania’s federal funding status. The storm significantly impacted neighborhoods near the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia and Montgomery County, where a powerful tornado also touched down.
Federal, city and state inspectors have been surveying damaged areas in Center City, East Falls and Manayunk, according to Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration.
The preliminary assessments are the first step in determining whether residents and business owners can receive federal housing repair grants and low-cost loans and participate in other disaster relief programs.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s office has said, to qualify for the funding, Pennsylvania must sustain $19.6 million in total damages, and each county also has to meet an individual threshold.
In an Aug. 25 letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Wolf advocated for lowering the barrier for federal help, citing a much smaller July 12 flash flood that affected parts of Bucks County and Northeast Philadelphia.
Wolf and Kenney have each issued emergency proclamations of their own to allow for an expedited clean-up.
Resources to help
As officials await word from Washington, Philadelphians are being asked to report damaged property through the city’s assessment tool at phila.gov/oem/storm. If possible, residents and business owners should photograph flooded areas before any repairs.
Anyone affected by Ida can call Crisis Cleanup, a volunteer organization, at 844-965-1386, for help with removing trees, remediating mold, clearing debris and rebuilding.
Commercial corridors where multiple businesses have been impacted by flooding should reach out to the city’s commerce department for help at [email protected]
In hard-hit Montgomery County, which recorded three storm-related deaths, officials are planning to open a resource center this week in Norristown.
Residents will be able to speak with people from disaster relief nonprofits, emergency management agencies and other groups, according to a statement.
The resource center will be housed at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, 2 W. Lafayette St., and open Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Property owners in the county who sustained damage due to Ida are urged to file a report at montcopa.org/ida and contact their local township.
Septa service updates
Trains will return to SEPTA’s Manayunk/Norristown Line Tuesday, with service between Spring Mill Station and Center City, the authority said. Stations on the line between Elm Street and Conshohocken remain closed due to storm damage.
All other SEPTA services disrupted by Ida are back up and running.
The Vine Street Expressway, which turned into a sewage-contaminated canal following the storm, reopened in both directions Saturday, though the right lane on the westbound side is closed from 18th Street to just past 22nd Street.
In addition, the I-676 eastbound ramp at 24th Street is blocked off for repairs, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.