Hurricane Ida recovery: Please report damage to your county and municipality
Far too many parts of our community were deeply impacted by the recent storm associated with Hurricane Ida, including a deadly EF-2 tornado that tore through parts of Upper Dublin Township on Wednesday.
In this correspondence, I wanted to compile various pieces of information, resources and links that could be helpful to those who sustained damage – significant or relatively minor – and need help with cleanup, shelter, home repairs, fallen trees or more.
First, there is a Hurricane Ida Crisis Cleanup Hotline for residents who have sustained such damage, including fallen trees, removing affected drywall, flooring, appliances, tarping roofs, and mold remediation. Call the Hotline at 844-965-1386. Their mission is to help volunteers connect with those who need assistance after disasters.
Via the Red Cross, shelter is available, with or without pets, at Norristown Area High School. Note that, if possible, pet owners should bring food, a crate, a sheet or blanket, and a bowl. These items will be supplied if a pet owner is unable to provide them.
The devastation I witnessed in touring the hardest-hit areas was overwhelming. The path of the tornado did so much damage, uprooting trees, making homes unrecognizable, blocking roads. It’s utterly heartbreaking.
Whether from the flooding or tornado, if you suffered any damage to your property, PLEASE REPORT IT to both your county and your municipality. Note: Damage to property also includes vehicles, spoiled food, ruined furniture and appliances. Take photos of the damage and save your receipts.
Here are several options for reporting damage via link or by calling the specific municipality for more information:
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency also has this useful guide on “Returning to Normal After a Disaster” that includes a lot of good information.
Aqua Pennsylvania has asked customers throughout its southeastern Pennsylvania service area to discontinue nonessential water use until further notice as the utility works to restore normal operations at two major water treatment plants that sustained damage during the Ida-caused floods.
Aqua had to shut down its Pickering East and West water treatment plants in Phoenixville due to heavy rainfall, flooding and loss of power. Aqua has successfully returned a portion of the Pickering East plant online, but as the flood waters began to subside, utility professionals have been able to assess the extent of damage, which is greater than previously thought. It will take some time for full recovery to take place and they ask customers to take all possible measures to curtail water use until further notice. Those who have automatic lawn sprinklers are advised to turn them off.
Frequent this Aqua link for updates and more information about water use and safety.
As Upper Dublin was among the regions hit hardest by power outages, PECO doesn’t yet know when power may be restored to certain areas because of downed wires and trees.
Report an outage to PECO online or by calling 1-800-841-4141. You can also check the outage map online. If you have an emergency, please call the number above rather than emailing your request.
PPL customers should also report outages online or by calling 1-800-342-5775. Find the PPL outage map online as well.
Internet users can check status or report an outage through Comcast Xfinity or Verizon, depending on provider.
For ongoing updates on the recovery efforts in Montgomery County, text MontcoIda to 888-777. In Philadelphia, sign up for emergency alerts and weather updates.
Note that on Wednesday, Sept. 8 and Thursday, Sept. 9, Montgomery County is opening a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Norristown for residents affected by Hurricane Ida. At the MARC, residents will have access to representatives from municipal, County, and State emergency management agencies; non-governmental disaster relief organizations; elected officials; and various County and State government human services agencies. The hours of operation and location will be announced when plans are finalized.
Lastly, follow my Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest updates I receive on the recovery efforts. In some parts, the rebound will take time. As some schools suffered serious damage, there are a lot of students and teachers looking forward to a return to in-person learning who will now have to temporarily resume remote learning, a potentially demoralizing fact. But please hang in there. We will get through this together.
If you want to help others in their recovery, please reach out to my office (215-259-5962 or RepGuenst@pahouse.net) for ideas.
Thank you, everybody, and stay safe.