Bucks County declares emergency to help residents affected by ‘100-year’ flood

Aa car is pictured in heavy floodwaters

The torrential rain flooded neighborhoods throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. (6ABC)

The Bucks County Commissioners on Thursday approved an emergency declaration to help residents impacted by the “100-year” storm that hit parts of the Philadelphia suburb earlier this week.

The declaration means people with property damage can file reimbursement claims with the state, including the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. The county will be setting up a Multiple Agency Resource Center in Croydon next week where residents can meet representatives from the county and state, as well as a group of nonprofits.

The federal government will get involved if those reimbursement claims cross a certain dollar amount.

Commissioner Bob Harvie said Thursday that about 100 homes suffered  “major damage,” while upwards of 400 properties sustained minor damages. The flooding occurred after the Poquessing Creek overflowed its banks and local storm sewers maxed out their capacities.

“People’s basements ended up taking the brunt of it,” said Harvie.

Harvie said the Bucks County Commissioners are expected to meet with Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday as part of a previously scheduled visit.

“He’s going to see some of the damaged areas. Not quite sure where yet,” said Harvie.

A Wolf spokesperson would not confirm the governor’s visit.

On Monday, Bensalem and Bristol Townships, as well as Bristol Borough, saw 6-10 inches of rainfall over the course of roughly four hours, according to the National Weather Service in Mount Holly. The flooding brought down power lines and made some roads impassable.

Nearby Burlington County in New Jersey also experienced severe flooding during that stretch. First responders made 12 water rescues there, including from some vehicles.

“We’re trying to do the best we can as quickly as we can working with the state and local officials to try to help people,” said Harvie.

Scientists link severe weather events like this week’s storm to climate change and expect such events to become more frequent as the earth’s temperatures warm.

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