September 08, 2021
Gov. Tom Wolf will tour the storm damage caused by Hurricane Ida in Bridgeport, Montgomery County, on Wednesday just hours before another storm is forecast for the region.
Ida's remnants sent a destructive tornado with wind gusts up to 130 mph through parts of Montgomery County last week. Several towns in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey suffered damage from the wind and flooding, and at least three people in Montco died.
The National Weather Service is predicting another round of rain and thunderstorms in the region on Wednesday afternoon and evening. While these are not expected to be as severe as Ida's remnants, today's storm could cause wind gusts and isolated tornadoes that could bring down trees and power lines. Since much of the ground remains saturated, flash floods are possible in the area, as well.
Wolf's tour of the damage in Bridgeport is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m.
He signed a disaster emergency last week for Ida-related damages, which allows state agencies to more easily distribute resources and provide assistance.
"We have a long road ahead of us. It will take time to complete damage assessments and make assistance and resources available, but we will continue to share information about assistance as it becomes available in the days and weeks ahead," Wolf said at the time.
Montco officials created a Multi-Agency Resource Center that is set to open this week where residents affected by the storm can meet with disaster relief groups, emergency management officials and human services agencies. The center will be open at 2 W. Lafayette St. in Norristown on Wednesday from 12-7 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It is still to be determined if Pennsylvania will receive federal aid to help with storm repairs. To qualify for federal aid, Pennsylvania must amass at least $19.6 million in damages, and each county must meet an individual threshold of damages based on population size and other factors. This funding would go toward housing repair grants and low-cost loans, among other types of aid.
President Joe Biden made emergency declarations for areas in New York and New Jersey over Labor Day weekend.
Wolf sent a letter to FEMA in August, pushing for a lower threshold for federal aid after flash flooding damaged parts of Bucks County and Northeast Philadelphia.
Last week, Wolf visited Horsham and Upper Dublin to survey the damage at Hatboro-Horsham High School and the Fort Washington Fire Co.
A tornado ripped through the townships with wind speeds up to 130 mph, ripping roofs off of houses, the Upper Dublin police station, the township building and high school.
"Now that communities around the commonwealth have transitioned from response to recovery, I wanted to join other leaders in seeing the flooding and storm damage for myself and to talk to residents firsthand," Wolf said at the time. "As the recovery process gets underway, PEMA will be assisting counties with damage assessments to ascertain what level of federal support we can hope to qualify for."