Hurricane Ida remnants in Delaware: Record floods in Wilmington after East Coast drenched

Brandon Holveck & Yusra Asif

Although Delaware avoided the worst of the storms brought to the East Coast by Hurricane Ida's remnants, the northern part of the state experienced historic flooding Thursday.

The flood waters lifted cars and buried bridges. Emergency responders rescued more than 200 people from their homes, wading through the flooded streets in rescue boats throughout the day.

"We’ve had flooding throughout the years, never this bad," said Wilmington Fire Department Chief John Looney.

The worst flooding occurred along the Brandywine. The city's Eastside, Riverside and 11th Street Bridge neighborhoods were among the most affected.

At a maximum crest of 23.1 feet – measured near Rockford Park around 9:30 a.m. Thursday – the Brandywine set a record, surpassing its previous high of 20.4 feet in 2014, according to the National Weather Service.

It began to recede around 10:30 a.m. and is expected to fall below flood stage just after midnight, according to the agency.

Parts of northern Delaware received about 5 inches of rain Wednesday into Thursday from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which made landfall Sunday in Louisiana and has since wreaked havoc up to the East Coast.

With waters rising Thursday after the rain subsided, the floods Thursday were largely attributed to the heavy rain in southeastern Pennsylvania, which was hit harder by the storms.

At Northeast Boulevard and Vandever Avenue, cars were underwater past their tires Thursday morning as crews from as far as Sussex County rescued families from their homes. Roads and shopping centers in the city's East Side and Riverside neighborhoods submerged.

Several residential areas north of the city also fully flooded, including the Rockland Mills Condominiums on Rockland Road where fire crews performed rescues Wednesday night. Smith's Bridge was roughly halfway submerged Thursday morning.

Multiple roads and bridges near the Brandywine and elsewhere in northern Delaware closed Thursday due to flooding. They include the following:

  • 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)

  • 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

  • Rising Sun Lane between Route 52 and Route 141

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.

The Bancroft pedestrian bridge in Alapocas Run State Park is closed indefinitely due to structural issues, the park announced Thursday morning.

Howard R. Young Correctional Institution on 12th Street is on a temporary lockdown due to standing water in parts of the facility's parking area that is affecting access. All inmate visits scheduled for Thursday were canceled.

Wilmington officials said residents should stay at home if possible. If evacuation is necessary, the Police Athletic League at 3707 N. Market St. and the William "Hicks" Anderson Community Center at 501 N. Madison St. are available.

Wilmington residents in need of assistance can call 311. Power outages can be reported to (800) 898-8042. Road debris and damage can be reported to (302) 659-4600.

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