PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The region is bracing for Ida. Flash flood watches have been issued for our entire region.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency Tuesday in anticipation of widespread flooding.
Flooding fears are sparking concern along the Schuylkill River. Crews are monitoring the water levels very closely because of the amount of rainfall we’re expected to get.
The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management says remnants of Ida could bring minor flooding on Wednesday.
“It’s not like a snowstorm. Not everyone is going to see this. Flooding might only be a few blocks encapsulated around a creek or river or stream or low spot area, but it can be very quite serious for those that do experience it,” National Weather Service Senior Hydrologist Raymond Kruzdlo said.
With the help of both federal and city partners, the National Weather Service Philadelphia/Mount Holly can now read river level information with a new gauge installed in the Schuylkill River at 30th Street.
They say the gauge is there so they can track and monitor any potential flooding risks for residents.
“Our goal is to keep them out of harm’s way first and foremost, and let them know that there is a flooding potential,” Kruzdlo said.
In the meantime, there’s a rush to release water from Pennsylvania dams.
Chopper 3 was over the Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County as the Army Corps of Engineers are trying to make room for intense rainfall in the forecast.
“When we have significant forecast like from the National Weather Service where we’re getting significant rain — we monitor that all the time, but in this case, we’re able to drop things down and get ready for Hurricane Ida,” said Steve Rochette with the Army Corps of Engineers.
Meanwhile, residents in Bucks County say they’ve had their share of floods.
“I was canoeing over the fences in the backyard, that’s how deep it was,” Joel Ousey said.
Ousey has lived on Haunted Lane in Bensalem for more than 20 years.
“Eventually, it just closes in and fills up all the way into the basement,” he said.
Ousey showed Eyewitness News the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd. Since then, FEMA has paid to raise his home above the flood zone.
“If you walk outback it’s almost 8 feet off the ground by the time you get outback,” he said.
“We’ve been through so much here in Bensalem,” Bensalem Mayor Joe DiGirolamo said.
Bensalem’s mayor says crews are getting the city ready, but he is concerned about flooding and damage as the area is still reeling from summer storms and a recent tornado.
“We had trees we want to make sure are down. It’s very easy for trees to topple now with any kind of little wind at all because of the saturation of the water,” he said.
“Even if we receive just a fraction of that 3 to 5 inches we are expecting for some flooding to occur,” said Todd Stieritz with the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety.
From Bucks to Montgomery County, officials are reminding people to prepare now for flash flood conditions as Ida could dump heavy rains that could be dangerous days later.
“Anyone who has a home or business along one of the larger rivers in the area, such as the Schuylkill River, will have to keep watching conditions into the weekend to see if those floodwaters continue to rise,” Stieritz said.
That includes even smaller waterways like Neshaminy Creek that runs behind Haunted Lane. Ousey says he’s not moving any time soon.
“It’s beautiful here, you got the boats going by,” he said.
Officials say they do not foresee this storm creating power outages but if that happens, do not call 911. You will need to call your service provider and stay away from standing water.
CBS3’s Kerri Corrado and Wakisha Bailey contributed to this report.