PHILADELPHIA – City residents affected by last week’s severe storm and flooding are encouraged to report damage to the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to see what resources are needed and what assistance may be available. Reports must be made by noon on Friday, July 23.
Heavy rainfall on July 12 produced between 5.1 and 6.4 inches within three hours in some neighborhoods in the far Northeast, according to preliminary information from the Philadelphia Water Department. Given that intensity and volume—roughly double the average amount of rain for all of July—the event is in the range of what would be considered a 1,000-year storm. This means a storm of that intensity has a 0.1 percent chance of occurring in any given year, based on historical records.
“We feel the frustration and pain of all the impacted residents. This was a storm with little historical precedent and a natural disaster that caused flash flooding in a concentrated section of our city,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We are doing everything we can to ensure people have access to all resources available to recover from this event. Because such storms are unpredictable, we encourage Philadelphia property owners to purchase FEMA flood insurance, which is available to all homeowners in the city.”
Seeking aid from state and federal agencies is a multi-step process, and OEM is taking the first step by gathering details from residents and businesses to determine the extent of the storm’s impact. This includes responding to flood-affected neighborhoods; holding information and resource events for residents at Chalfont Recreation Center; canvassing communities; and tracking damage through online surveys and calls to Philly 311.
More than 506 preliminary damage reports have been submitted to the City so far. The Office of Emergency Management is also partnering with the state at a Multi-Agency Resource Center that operated yesterday and today, Wednesday, July 21 until 7 p.m., at Keystone Elementary School in Croydon to provide regional access to state and local resources.
The American Red Cross continues its response to last week’s storm, assisting residents in both Philadelphia and Bucks County. To date, the Red Cross has provided emergency assistance to more than 40 Northeast Philadelphia residents, helping with things like temporary lodging, recovery casework, clean-up kits, and other relief supplies. If you need Red Cross assistance because of the storm, call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Any information on assistance and resources will be released through OEM’s social media channels as well as free text alerts. Residents and businesses can sign up for alerts by texting STORMPHL to 888-777.