Days after downpours and floods ripped through parts of Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Gov. Wolf declared a disaster emergency, freeing up state money and resources for cleanup and allowing the state to seek federal aid.
"Pennsylvanians in portions of the state hardest hit by heavy rains and subsequent flooding need to know that the state is doing all that it can to help," the governor said in a statement Friday that cited Delaware, Bradford, and Schuylkill Counties as the hardest hit. "This allows the state to seek federal funding for damages and frees up the red tape that can be associated with procuring necessary supplies and services during emergency cleanup."
On Monday morning, many in the Philadelphia region were taken off guard by torrential rains that flooded roadways, homes, and businesses. Many motorists were stranded in deep water. Authorities responded to more than 100 water rescues across Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties. Dozens were evacuated from their homes. Ground-floor apartments were flooded in West Norriton, and some stores on the first floor of the King of Prussia Mall took water.
Wayne, Darby Borough, and Upper Darby bore the brunt of the storm in Delaware County. In Upper Darby, a police officer was injured after he was sucked into a swirling sewer outlet and nearly drowned, Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.
The governor's declaration came a day after he visited Delaware County to view the damage firsthand.
He also visited Schuylkill County and Bradford County in northeast Pennyslvania, which are also recovering from severe flooding earlier this week — and earlier this summer. Last month, Pine Grove and Tremont in Schuylkill County were hit by flooding that forced residents to evacuate from their homes. Earlier this month, the Bradford County town of New Albany was flooded twice in four days.
"Over the past few days, Gov. Wolf and I have heard firsthand the stories of these survivors, and I am amazed by their resilience," Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency director Rick Flinn said in a statement. "At the same time, I know that some people have been hit with flooding more than once this summer, and we're committed to doing everything we can to help them."
Wolf said he also may seek a federal disaster declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
On Tuesday, Gov. Murphy declared a state of emergency in Ocean, Monmouth, Essex, Bergen, and Passaic Counties, which were hardest hit by flooding in his New Jersey.