PHILADELPHIA –The remnants of Hurricane Ida moved through much of the Mid-Atlantic yesterday bringing widespread heavy rainfall, tornadoes, and causing flooding for many rivers and streams. The damage in Ida’s wake show it to be one of the more impactful tropical systems to hit Region 3.
Compounding the effects of this system, many parts of our region have received several inches of rainfall over the past two weeks from Fred, Henri and other systems, which has primed soils and rivers for additional oversaturation impacts (such as causing trees and power lines to fall) and potential flooding.
The storm spawned multiple tornadoes in southeastern Pennsylvania and eastern Maryland, causing power outages and road closures. Ida’s heavy rainfall brought life-threatening flash flooding throughout parts of WV, Central, Eastern and Southeastern PA, much of MD, northern/western VA, DC, and northern DE, especially in steep terrain, in urban areas, and along small/creeks and streams. Floods caused significant road closures across those areas.
“FEMA Region 3 has been in close communication with our state partners,” said FEMA Region 3 Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “We have personnel deployed across the region to support response and recovery operations, as we continue working with all partners to identify needs and assess damage in communities affected by Ida.”
Moderate-to-major longer-term flooding along the larger rivers is likely mid- to late week, and perhaps into the weekend in the same states, particularly in the Schuylkill, Monongahela, Potomac, Susquehanna and Delaware River basins.
On Tuesday, Region 3 deployed of liaisons and Incident Management Assistance teams to multiple locations throughout the Region, in coordination with state emergency management directors. FEMA also began preparing to move pre-positioned supplies and commodities where they are most needed.
Incident Management Assistance Teams, (IMATs) are teams made up of logistics, operations, and planning experts who interact directly with state and District emergency management personnel. Throughout the event, FEMA Region 3 is in daily contact with regional and national private sector partners, publishing daily.
“We urge everyone to stay safe after this storm’s impact,” Tierney added. “Closely monitor your local flood conditions and information from local authorities, ensure you have emergency supplies on hand, and check in on neighbors who may need assistance, especially older adults and those with disabilities.”
Nationally, more than 1,400 FEMA employees are deployed to support Ida response and recovery efforts, including seven FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams are deployed to support states affected by Hurricane Ida.
FEMA Region 3 will continue to assess needs as the remnants of Ida move through our area and is working with our partners to plan for post-storm assessments.
Keep Yourself Safe During Flooding
- Stay off the roads: Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
- Check on neighbors who may require assistance if it is safe to do so. This includes individuals with infants, children as well as older adults, people with disabilities and others who may need help.
- Don’t drive through flood waters: Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas at bridges and at highway dips. As little as 6 inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay out of floodwater. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines or contain hazards such as human and animal waste, dangerous debris, contaminates that can lead to illness, or wild or stray animals.
Staying Safe After a Flood
- Pay attention to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Avoid driving except in emergencies. Emergency workers may be assisting people in flooded areas or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way. If you evacuated, do not return home until local officials say it is safe.
- Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. Turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock if it is safe to do so.
- Avoid wading in floodwater, which can be contaminated and contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
- Use a generator correctly and safely. Keep generators dry and position them outdoors and well away from any structure. Using a generator incorrectly can lead to dangerous situations, including carbon monoxide poisoning from engine exhaust. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get fresh air right away.
- Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
Stay Safe from Post-Storm Hazards
- Put your health and safety first: Be careful in areas with storm damage or flooding. If you evacuated, return only when officials say it is safe to do so. Areas without power may experience heat advisories, which can lead to illness or a threat to life.
- Be aware of heat-related illnesses. Areas without power may experience heat advisories, which can lead to illness or a threat to life. Learn to recognize the signs of heat illness.
- Be careful when cleaning up. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves and sturdy thick-soled shoes. Do not try to remove heavy debris by yourself. Use an appropriate mask if cleaning mold or other debris. People with asthma and other lung conditions and/or immune suppression should not enter buildings with indoor water leaks or mold growth that can be seen or smelled. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work.
- Avoid downed power or utility lines. They may be live with deadly voltage. Stay far away and report them immediately to your power company.
- Power outages can impact the safety of food in your refrigerator and freezer. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary.
FEMA previously issued Ensuring Civil Rights in Multiple Disasters During COVID-19 to offer best practices for partners and communities facing a disproportionate rate of COVID-19 illness and death during response and recovery efforts during multiple disasters.
Additional post-storm safety tips can be found on Ready.gov and Listo.gov, as well as by downloading the FEMA App. For more information on federal Hurricane Ida preparedness and response visit Hurricane Ida | FEMA.gov.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region 3’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.