The Bucks County Commissioners have declared a disaster emergency in response to the widespread damage and flooding brought by the remnants of Ida.
Between 3 p.m. and midnight Wednesday, the powerful storm dumped 4 to 8 inches of rain countywide, and more than 10 inches in some places. The National Weather Service (NWS) Thursday afternoon confirmed the storm produced three EF-1 tornadoes in Bucks County, one each in Buckingham Township, Bristol Borough and Upper Makefield Township.
First responders conducted numerous water rescues throughout the night and into Thursday. More than 2,000 emergency calls were placed to Bucks County 911 from 3 p.m. Wednesday through 10 a.m. Thursday morning. More than 3,000 non-emergency calls were made during the same period.
“This is catastrophic,” said Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo. “If it wasn’t for our emergency crews, the devastation would have been worse.”
One death has been confirmed in the storm’s wake. The death in Milford Township was being investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police.
Extensive roadway damage has been reported.
PHOTO: The covered bridge on Walnut Street in Perkasie was damaged Wednesday when remnants of Hurricane Ida brought high winds, heavy rains and possible tornadoes to Bucks County. Photo provided courtesy of the Perkasie Historical Society.
Though the rain has moved on, the danger from flooding in some communities is not over, especially along Neshaminy Creek and the Delaware River.
NWS predicted the river would crest at 15 feet between 6 and 8 p.m. in the area of New Hope. About 9 p.m., the river was expected to crest at 18 feet in Frenchtown, and at 26 feet in Riegelsville. Follow instructions from local authorities.
“The Delaware River and Neshaminy Creek are areas of concern,” said Commissioner Bob Harvie. “If you need to, please move to higher ground.”
Residents are asked to avoid travel except in emergencies. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads. Doing so risks not just your own life, but the lives of first responders who come to your rescue.
Bucks County Emergency Management continues to monitor the situation along with partners from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).
In addition, the county has received outreach from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the White House.
“We want you to know your needs are being heard,” said Commissioners’ Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia said. “This event is not over.”
Anyone in need of shelter after Thursday’s storms can contact the American Red Cross for assistance at 1-800-733-2767 (select option four).
To receive emergency alerts from the county, sign up for Ready Bucks.
Updates are available on the Hurricane Ida page. Residents are also encouraged to fill out and submit the Damage Assessment Form for any property damage to their home or business.
Residents and businesses should report storm damage to their municipalities. Municipalities should report storm damage to Bucks EMA.
Media Contact: James O’Malley, 215-348-6414, [email protected]