Weather Service: Local Damage Threat ‘Considerable’

Video shot by Ted Hodgins, Perkiomen Twp. Fire Company, used with permission, shows a river of water coursing down Centennial Street past the borough post office Wednesday afternoon in Schwenksville PA

MOUNT HOLLY NJ – Tropical Storm Ida hit western Montgomery County with a vengeance Wednesday (Sept. 1, 2021) afternoon, with heavy rains, gusting winds, and the acknowledgement that both would continue into the night.

The National Weather Service in Mount Holly NJ on Wednesday at 6:01 p.m. repeated its warning that a flash flood watch – recognizing the possibility of “life-threatening flash flooding caused by thunderstorms” – persisted in western MontCo, and particularly the boroughs of Pottstown and Collegeville; all of Berks County, and parts of western and eastern Chester County, through Thursday morning.

With rain falling at the rate of 1-2 inches per hour, the weather service declared damage from the flash flood threat was expected to be “considerable.”

What to look forward to …

All things must pass … and so too will Ida, as it moves northward Thursday. Map graphic from AccuWeather Inc. in State College PA

Water rescuers kept overly busy

Weather Service: Local Damage Threat 'Considerable'
Still photo from video, from the Facebook page of Giovannis Restaurant, Route 724, Pottstown

Area fire companies with water rescue teams were put to the test by drivers and other individuals, too many of whom failed to heed warnings to stay away from flooded roadways and locations.

As of Wednesday at 8:34 p.m., Montgomery County emergency dispatchers’ active incident reports showed first responders dealing with calls for water rescues in Skippack (2), Douglass, Upper Salford, Perkiomen, Limerick, New Hanover (2), Salford, Green Lane, and Pottstown. Fire police units were equally busy, rushing to locations in Trappe, Lower Frederick, Limerick, and Collegeville.

To no one’s surprise, county dispatchers also reported hazardous road conditions, obstructions, or disabled vehicles at Rupert Road and East High Street in Lower Pottsgrove, Meng and Delphi roads in Lower Frederick, and 1oth Avenue and Royersford Road in Limerick.

College classes moved online

Because of the weather conditions, Montgomery County Community College announced Wednesday at 5:06 p.m. that, effective immediately, all its “classes, services, and activities will transition to online.”

Read an earlier story about the flood threat, published Wednesday morning by The Post, below.

Storm Updates: Collegeville Beware; Guard Activated

Weather Service: Local Damage Threat 'Considerable'

MOUNT HOLLY NJ – The borough of Collegeville joined Pottstown for the dubious honor of earning specific mention in a flood watch warning issued Wednesday (Sept. 1, 2021) at 3:03 a.m. by the National Weather Service in Mount Holly NJ.

The weather service singled out the two Schuylkill River municipalities in its dispatch, in addition to all of western Montgomery, all of Berks, and portions of western and eastern Chester counties, to be on alert for suddenly-appearing flood conditions that are expected to continue through Thursday (Sept. 2) morning. That’s when remnants of Hurricane Ida will pass through the region.

“Periods of heavy rain and scattered thunderstorms will result in widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches, with locally higher amounts possible,” it warned. “Flooding of creeks, streams, urban areas, and poor drainage areas is likely in the areas of heaviest rain.”

National Guard units activated

About 120 Pennsylvania National Guard members have been placed on state-active duty, and are on stand-by as Tropical Storm Ida bears down on Pennsylvania, its public affairs department reported Tuesday. Both soldiers and airmen are staged, along with more than 30 high-water capable vehicles, at several locations across the Commonwealth, it said.

Two helicopters and crews that are part of the Pennsylvania Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team also are on stand-by. The team is a joint partnership between the Army National Guard, the state Fish and Boat Commission, and state Emergency Management Agency.

Governor declares ‘disaster emergency’

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday signed a “proclamation of disaster emergency” ahead of the significant rainfall and widespread flooding expected from what Ida is leaving behind. The decree “will allow for our emergency preparedness teams to provide any support needed throughout the storm and its aftermath,” he said.

Additionally, the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center, intended to assist municipal and county responders during times of disaster, “will ramp up 24-hour operations at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Wolf’s announcement said.

Stay out of the water

A Tuesday (Aug. 31) night notice published to Facebook by Montgomery County’s Department of Public Safety was even more dire. It described the anticipated flash flooding as “life-threatening,” and urged residents to avoid all travel during periods of heavy rain. “If you are caught in the storm, DO NOT drive or walk through flood waters. Even a few inches of rushing water can kill!,” it advised.

If your power goes out

Don’t call 9-1-1, Montgomery County Public Safety representatives said on their Facebook page. Instead, call service suppliers directly. It provided these utility emergency toll-free phone numbers:

  • PECO Energy, 1-800-841-4141;
  • PPL Electric Utilities Corp., 1-800-342-5775; and
  • Metropolitan Edison, 1-888-544-4877.

Map graphic provided by AccuWeather Inc.