Wilmington looks to recover from Ida-related flooding
Portions of Wilmington get hammered by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
Wednesday’s storm pushed the Brandywine Creek over its banks throughout the city, forcing the evacuation of about 200 people from their homes.
The Brandywine at Wilmington hit 23.14 feet Thursday morning, smashing its previous record of 20.43 feet in 2014. Flooding in Wilmington stretched between I-495 and Market Street, with the most significant impact in a 15 to 20-block area along the creek.
Gov. John Carney says first responders came together to keep people safe.
"Really appreciate the National Guard for coming out providing assistance to the fire department and evacuating folks," said Carney. "Just a tremendous team effort. We had all the water rescue from as far as south as Sussex County, Kent County and, of course, those here in the Wilmington Fire Department."
The evacuees are in shelters set up at the Police Athletic League on North Market Street and William “Hicks” Anderson Center on North Madison Street.
Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) Director A.J. Schall said it could be months before some Wilmington residents return to their homes. Carney added the state Department of Health and Social Services may be able to provide food and vouchers for hotel stays, and that the Red Cross is on site at the temporary shelters.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki declared a state of emergency Thursday night, and Schall said that will help get the ball in motion for any federal disaster declaration.
"And that will help us as we go through damage assessment the next 3, 4, 5 days, look at a narrative to see what we could possibly request from our federal partners from a disaster declaration," said Schall. "So, it's going to take some time for us to really go neighborhood to neighborhood and door-to-doors identify loss by individuals, then infrastructure damage that's happened, whether it's the bridges, the roads we know... there's some damage at schools."
Carney said President Biden has already called, vowing any support that can be provided.