Ida brings massive floods, damage, tornados to Chester County

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

Just one of the dozens of flooded areas in Chester County from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which dumped 6-8 inches of rain on the county, Wednesday. Photo: courtesy Chester County Emergency Services.

A vicious storm – the remnants of Hurricane Ida — ripped through Chester County Wednesday, causing widespread flooding, power outages and damage, including unconfirmed reports of tornados in the southern portion of the county after it dropped somewhere between 6 and 8 inches of rain in just a matter of hours on Wednesday.

Although the storm has reportedly killed more than a dozen in the mid-Atlantic region, there were no reports of fatalities in Chester County.

Flooding from the branches of the Brandywine and Schuylkill rivers hit Major Flood highs — and the Brandywine was expected to see peak levels at Chadds Ford this morning at about 10 am, according to the National Weather Service.

Reports of flood damage to homes and business were dominating local social media Thursday — one heartbreaking image after another. Typical of the resolve of the people of Chester County, Brandywine Ace Pet & Farm in Pocopson posted images on Facebook — posted a defiant “We WILL be back.”

Although there were widespread power outages, as of 10 am Thursday, PECO was reporting that 184 outages impacting 7,676 customers were still being worked on to restore service.

As the cleanup begins and the flood waters finally recede, most, if not all local and county government offices and schools are closed today — Thursday. County officials are asking people to stay off roads if possible as work continues to both clean up and evaluate damage to bridges and roadways from the extreme flooding in the area. The damage appears to have been widespread and impacting much — if not all — of the county.

Multiple reports said that a tornado — one of four reported in the region — ripped through Oxford Township, tearing down trees and completely blocking portions of U.S. 1. 

The Pennsylvania Turnpike was closed between Valley Forge and Downingtown. Evacuations south of the Pickering Dam were put into place — since rescinded as the waters began to return to lower levels and roads throughout the region were flooded. Lincoln Highway was widely flooded from Downingtown through Coatesville, with deep flood waters at many locations along the roadway.

Parts of Coatesville were so badly flooded that people had to be rescued by boat.

The Chester County Health Department issued a guide this week to help local residents cope with flooding at the aftermath — to stay safe. It can be found here:

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