Philadelphia, suburbs wring out as Isaias floodwaters recede


UPDATE: 10:30 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Swollen from Tropical Storm Isaias' heavy rain Tuesday, the Schuylkill River and its tributaries surpassed flood stage. By Wednesday morning, the water was beginning to recede, revealing quite a mess for residents and businesses to clean up.
A section of Main Street in Manayunk remained flooded overnight. Homes, apartments and businesses took on water in the area between Shurs Lane and the AMC movie theater.

Flooding on Main Street in Manayunk this morning. @KYWNewsradio

— Tim Jimenez (@TimJRadio) August 5, 2020

The Philadelphia Fire Department helped get people out of the Apex Manayunk Apartments on the river. Tuesday's storm has added devastation to a community already reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

The water started to recede early Wednesday morning. A tow truck eventually was able to make its way down Main Street to haul away a car that had been stuck in the flood water since the storm hit.

Suburbs catch their breath

People in low-lying areas of Norristown had quite a mess to deal with on Wednesday. However, compared to Tuesday, especially overnight, Norristown looked completely different in the morning.

Aptly named Water St in Notristown.

— Jim Melwert (@JMelwert) August 5, 2020

The Schuylkill River and Perkiomen Creek, which had caused major problems in this part of Montgomery County, had begun to recede. Looking over the edge of the Dekalb Street bridge, the height of the water was still breathtaking, but many of the roads that were flooded had reopened.

Residual closings had snarled traffic in the area. DeKalb Street by the Norristown Transportation Center reopened around 8 a.m., and SEPTA Regional Rail lines had begun go come back online one ata a time. Flood water wasn't really the problem anymore; it was the debris left behind, such as submerged cars abandoned by their drivers.

Over the river in Bridgeport, at Frosty Falls ice cream parlor, it was hard to tell how high the water was. The river's crest was still up in the parking lot, and some cars were still submerged.

The Schuylkill is receding. Neighbors tell me the water peaked near the top of that gazebo. This is behind Frosty Falls by the Dekalb Street Bridge.

— Jim Melwert (@JMelwert) August 5, 2020

Joe Williams with Carranza Roofing in Norrisrtown says he and his colleagues were at work Tuesday night trying to salvage what they could. He said the water inside was up to his chest. And outside, he pointed out a few vehicles that had been moved by powerful floodwaters.

“All those cars in that parking lot, like that big super duty truck, was completely submerged under water," he said. "The white truck that’s down here was either here or here, but it somehow floated over this ledge and just kind of glided over here."

That distance is about 20 yards.

The water in that lot has receded, leaving behind a think, muddy paste.

River trouble in Center City

In Philadelphia, a barge on the Schuylkill River, unmoored in the storm and floating loose, became wedged under the Vine Street Expressway overpass overnight. The gap normally between the bridge and the surface of the river was swallowed up by rising flood water.

Out of an abundance of caution, because of the barge's proximity to 30th Street Station, SEPTA suspended all Regional Rail lines before the barge became stuck. The Vine Street Expressway was closed to traffic in both directions between I-76 and Broad Street.

#Update: Vine Street expressway will remain closed until @PennDOT inspects bridge where barge, dislodged yesterday afternoon, is now leaning against. Likely roadway won’t open until tomorrow. @KYWNewsradio

— Kristen Johanson (@KristenJohanson) August 5, 2020

With strong currents on either side of the barge, police and marine unit crews on site have been working to figure to how to move it.


KYW Newsradio's Tim Jimenez, Kristen Johanson and Jim Melwert contributed to this report.