In Manayunk, sunshine, relief replace water, worry

Sunday’s floodwaters—several feet of murky, brown water that cloaked the black asphalt as Irene whipped the Schuylkill into flood stage—were already entering memory and legend.

As the water receded more quickly than feared on Monday, it revealed damage, but no catastrophes.

The change in 48 hours is dramatic.

The sun shone on dry, cleared pavement up and down Main Street this morning.

Sunday’s floodwaters—several feet of murky, brown water that cloaked the black asphalt as Irene whipped the Schuylkill into flood stage—were already entering memory and legend.

As the water receded more quickly than feared on Monday, it revealed damage, but no catastrophes.

That was a big relief for Max Tucker, a co-owner of Mad River Bar and Grille.

Standing outside of his Main Street restaurant Monday, Tucker said he will be open shortly:

“At this point we’re not dealing with too much—mostly cleanup. We’re fortunate the water department is here helping clean up the parking lots. But we got very lucky. The water crested lower than it was supposed to. Our basement is pretty much free of water. We’re feeling real good right now.”

Sunday morning, he admitted, he wasn’t feeling so good:

“There’s something very scary about being helpless when the river is coming in at such a rapid pace. We come outside and there are just 30 or 40 people with their camera phones snapping photos of the river out into Main Street. This is definitely the kind of news story you don’t want to be a part of.”

Just a couple of doors down, Wallace Littlewood surveyed the scene inside his family’s fiber dyeing warehouse, G.J. Littlewood and Son.

The long-time Manayunk resident says a few feet of water flowed into the building’s entryway, but that clean-up hasn’t been that bad:

“A lot of times we got blasted out. We had real problems with motors and machinery and things like that, but the water didn’t get inside the plant at all.”

Littlewood says he’s glad he spent a lot of time preparing well for Irene’s wrath.

Laura Copeland of the city Water Department credited the public with helping avoid a plague of clogged sewers and water backups.

“Because we knew the storm was coming, we prepared for this before, during and after,” she said. “The public really helped us, because we rely on their help to assist us in cleaning those drains if we haven’t gotten to them.”

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