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State lawmakers tour areas clobbered by Ida, promise help is on the way

KYW Radio Philadelphia logo KYW Radio Philadelphia 9/3/2021 Jim Melwert
a large lawn in front of a building © Provided by KYW Radio Philadelphia

UPPER DUBLIN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Tom Wolf, along with state and local officials, toured some areas of southeastern Pennsylvania Friday that were hit hard by the remnants of Tropical Depression Ida.

“We are doing everything we can,” he said, standing outside the wreckage of the Upper Dublin Township Building in Montgomery County. “There is no question that people have been devastated by this storm.”

Part of the building’s roof is gone, and a massive tree out front is completely uprooted.

a view of the inside of a building: Upper Dublin Township Building © Provided by KYW Radio Philadelphia Upper Dublin Township Building

Upper Dublin Township Commissioner Ira Tackel said they understand people want things back to normal as quickly as possible, and they’re trying.

“The devastation that we’ve experienced is unprecedented,” he said. “If you look around just here, our township building is unusable. These power poles snapped like twigs. It’s going to take time.”

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, who represents Montgomery County, has spent the past two days visiting parts of the county.

She echoed Tackel: “The quick nature of it, the devastating nature of it and the diversity of it. You have tornadoes here and major flooding there.”

Norristown, Bridgeport and Collegeville, specifically, were bombarded by historic flooding, while Upper Dublin and Horsham were hit hard by wind and tornado damage.

The tornado was ultimately rated an ​​EF-2 by the National Weather Service of Mount Holly, with estimated peak winds up to 130 mph.

Three Montgomery County residents died in Ida’s wake, two of which were drowning deaths.

Dean said the emotional challenges of the storm can’t be ignored either, especially with the timing so close to the start of the school year.

“The tragedy that this happened as we were just getting schools started. These kids are resilient, these administrators and teachers are amazing, but it shouldn’t be lost that this is impacting our children again,” she said.

a bird sitting on top of a dirt road: Upper Dublin High School © Provided by KYW Radio Philadelphia Upper Dublin High School

State Rep. Todd Stephens from Horsham said federal and state funds will be needed and welcomed down the road, but people need help right now.

“I was out on the street in a bunch of neighborhoods yesterday and that’s what they were saying too, just incidentals — food, because the refrigerator, the electricity’s off, the food’s spoiled, things like that, or even a hotel room,” he said.

If anyone needs help now, lawmakers are turning residents to their state representatives, state senators, and Montgomery County for immediate resources online.

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