More than 200 people rescued following flash floods in Wilmington

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Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki spent the morning overseeing operations and surveying damage in various parts of the City from one of the most severe storms to hit Wilmington in recent memory.

WILMINGTON (DE) BY GEORGE SHEA, PHOTOJOURNALIST: As Hurricane Ida passed through Delaware, torrential rains and flooding was left in it’s wake and the city of Wilmington felt most of the impact. The storm brought heavy rains and high winds as it passed through Delaware Wednesday night, that caused flash floods in low lying areas such as the Brandywine River in Wilmington.

Most of the historic flash floods is attributed to a much stronger storm South Pennsylvania received Wednesday night.

Fire officials were busy Wednesday night during the storm rescuing residents at the Rockland Road condominiums. Other areas as you move further North of the city was also being impacted by the storm like the Smith’s Bridge which was half way submerged by Thursday morning. According to the National Weather Service, some areas north of the city received over five inches of rain.

In the city’s east side neighborhoods, cars were seen partially submerged under water as were area businesses including shopping centers, and according to Wilmington Fire Department, more than 50 people were rescued from their homes on Vandever Avenue between N. Claymont Street and Bowers Streets Thursday afternoon.

Fire officials speculate more than 200 residents had to be rescued from their homes during the course of the storm. 

Photo by George Shea, for Delaware Newsline | As Hurricane Ida passed through Delaware, torrential rains and flooding was left in it’s wake and the city of Wilmington felt most of the impact.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki spent the morning overseeing operations and surveying damage in various parts of the City from one of the most severe storms to hit Wilmington in recent memory. He said Police and Fire personnel are working closely with the Department of Public Works and Parks and Recreation to respond to emergency calls and ensure the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and residents.

“Obviously this terrible storm has caused serious flooding devastation throughout the City,” said the Mayor. “We are doing our very best to ensure that everybody is safe, first and foremost, and that we address the aftermath of this historic storm so that get things back to normal again.”

Late Thursday morning the flooding began to recede but wasn’t expected to fall below flood warning until after midnight. However a number of streets remained closed and will remain closed over the next several hours city officials say.

The following roads are closed due to flooding:

City of Wilmington:Barley Mille/Centerville:Newark:
• Smith Bridge Road between Creek Road and Route 100
• Thompson Bridge Road between Woodlawn Road and Guyencourt Road
• The I-495 to 12th Street ramps
• South Park Drive between Market and Van Buren streets
• North Park Drive between Van Buren Street and the Swinging Bridge
• 300 block of E. 15th. St.
• Clifford Brown Walk, between East 14th and East 16th streets
• 16th Street Bridge
• East 7th Street/7th Street Pennisula
• Vandever Avenue near Claymont and Bowers streets
• North Market Street Bridge

• Barley Mill Covered Bridge between Brackenville Road and Creek Road
• Beaver Valley Road between Beaver Dam Road and Creek Road
• Ramsey Road between Route 92 and Beaver Dam Road
• Old Barley Mill Road between Rising Sun Road and Route 141
• Rockland Road between Black Gates and Adams Dam roads
• Adams Dam Road between State Park and Rockland Road
• Hillside and Centerville roads between Centerville and Greenspring roads (wire down across road)
• Creek Road between Ramsey Road and Beaver Valley
• Mt. Cuba Road between Barley Mill Road and Rail Road bridge (wires down across road)
• Rising Sun Lane between Route 52 and Route 141


• East Main Street between Route 273 and Old Baltimore Pike
• Old Stanton Christiana Road at Stanton Christiana Road
• Airport Road at Nonsuch Creek
• Ogletown Road at Avon Road
• Chambers Rock Road between the state line and Thompson Station Road

According to Emergency Management Director Willie J. Patrick, Jr., residents should remain at home if possible. If evacuation is necessary, residents can go to one of two emergency reception centers for assistance: the Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) at 3707 North Market Street, or William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center at 501 North Madison Street. Residents are reminded to call 9-1-1 in an emergency; all other questions or concerns should be directed to Wilmington 3-1-1.

C.R. McLeod, director of community relations for the state Department of Transportation, said once the water recedes they will inspect the bridges to ensure they are safe before reopening them.

By Thursday afternoon Governor John Carney along with city, state, and federal officials surveyed the storm damage in Wilmington and on Friday, Mayor Mike Pursyrcki signed an executive order placing Wilmington in a state of emergency due to the havoc Hurricane Ida caused.  The Mayor signed the Order given the “flooding, property damage, and dangerous conditions” that resulted when the remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through the City overnight.

The broad authority granted to a Mayor of Wilmington during an emergency has been used during previous weather-related incidents such as snowstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes, as well as the COVID-19 public health emergency beginning in March 2020.

“Obviously this terrible storm has caused extensive flooding damage throughout the City,” said the Mayor. “The Brandywine River rose to levels not seen in a hundred years, and our first responders did a marvelous job today of ensuring that everybody was safe and protected. Our Police, Fire, and Emergency Management personnel, working alongside County and State partners and with teams from Public Works, Licenses and Inspections, and Parks and Recreation, all responded heroically to assist those in need throughout a long and difficult day. We all owe them all a debt of gratitude.”

Photo by George Shea, for Delaware Newsline | As Hurricane Ida passed through Delaware, torrential rains and flooding was left in it’s wake and the city of Wilmington felt most of the impact.

“I am pleased to report that not a single death or traumatic injury was recorded following one of the most severe storms to hit Wilmington in recent memory,” the Mayor continued, “though there were a number of medical emergencies that resulted in people being transported to the hospital. Now we must address the aftermath of this event so that get things back to normal again.”

ShelterMore InfoWhat to Bring:
Residents displaced by flooding and in need of overnight shelter, estimated to be several dozen at most, can go to the State Emergency Shelter that has been opened at the Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) at 3707 North Market Street. Shelter operations are being coordinated by the City of Wilmington, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and the American Red Cross.

For health and safety, people in need of shelter will be tested for COVID-19 by the Division of Public Health prior to entry and face coverings will be required.

Food and water will be provided along with additional services as needed. Pets, however, will NOT be allowed at this shelter.

Wilmington residents in need of additional services can call 2-1-1 or text their zip code to 898-211 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Residents should continue to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

• Face coverings are required for anyone over the age of 2
• Medications and any medical devices
• Changes of clothing
• Electronics chargers
• Important documents

According to Emergency Management Director Willie J. Patrick, Jr., starting tomorrow the City will move from a Rescue and Recovery Operation to the Damage Assessment and Debris Management phase, working in conjunction with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA).

Contact George Shea at gshea@delawarenewsline.com. Follow him on Twitter @denewsline.

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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