Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf requested on Wednesday that President Joe Biden declare a major disaster in Pennsylvania following heavy rainfall, severe flash flooding, and tornadoes from Tropical Depression Ida that impacted Pennsylvania on August 31, 2021, through September 5, 2021.
“I am requesting a federal disaster declaration because Pennsylvanians and our communities need and deserve critical support as they recover from significant damages to their homes and public infrastructure,” Gov. Wolf said. “This storm brought historic rainfall and flooding, as well as rare tornadoes, devastating many communities. We believe we meet the federal government’s thresholds based on the damage assessments conducted so far, so this request is another necessary step in the process to recover from the impacts of this terrible storm.”
The governor’s request includes a major disaster declaration for Individual Assistance for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York counties; Public Assistance for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Fulton, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York counties; and for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to be made available to all 67 counties of the Commonwealth.
The major disaster declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would provide federal funding and services to eligible individuals and households through the Individual Assistance program and federal funding to local, county and state governments, as well as certain eligible non-profits in those counties, through the Public Assistance program. Businesses affected by the storm would be eligible for assistance through the Small Business Administration.
The collective damage estimate to public infrastructure to date is currently estimated at $117 million, which far exceeds the commonwealth’s threshold of $19.7 million.
Governor Wolf and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield today visited Bridgeport, a borough in Montgomery County that sits along the Schuylkill River and experienced significant flooding from the remnants of Ida. They spoke with community leaders, residents and business owners and toured the community, which is still cleaning up nearly a week after Ida brought historic severe weather to Pennsylvania.
“I remain grateful to all the first responders who risked their lives during the storm to help people, many of whom were impacted by the storm too,” Gov. Wolf said. “I also thank those who continue to provide much needed support to individuals and families who are recovering from devastating losses.”
“This storm has brought historic rain and rare tornado events to our commonwealth, and while cleanup continues, it’s important that we take every measure to determine whether we qualify for federal aid. This request to the federal government is critical to helping households and communities recover,” Padfield said. “PEMA continues to cooperate with FEMA and county officials on damage assessments. I continue to urge individuals who were impacted by the storm to document all efforts, including taking pictures and videos of the damages and keeping copies of any receipts, all of which will be extremely helpfully in obtaining assistance.”
Montgomery County has announced that it will operate a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) for residents affected by Ida. It will be open on Wednesday, September 8 from noon to 7:00 PM and Thursday, September 9 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at 2 W. Lafayette Street in Norristown.
This tour follows last week’s visit by the governor, Padfield and Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian to Horsham and Upper Dublin townships in Montgomery County and the Borough of Downington in Chester County.
On August 31, Governor Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency, which allowed state agencies to more easily pre-position resources and respond more quickly to requests for state assistance.
View a copy of the letter Governor Wolf sent to President Biden.