Philadelphia and surrounding areas in Pennsylvania are dealing with historic flooding Thursday in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

The tropical storm brought heavy downpours, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to the region Wednesday afternoon and evening.

City officials said that the Schuylkill River had not overflowed this severely since 1869, over 150 years ago. The river crested at 16.35 feet.

Hundreds of people needed to be rescued from their homes and cars after the Schuylkill River overflowed into the city flooding parts of the city in feet of water.

Several Philadelphia Fire Department rescue teams were dispatched to help flooded-in residents in the area Thursday morning.

"This is going to be a long recovery process," said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, during a city emergency response update Thursday. "We've never seen anything like this."

He said that there were several active water rescues and people who were trapped in first-floor apartments around the city. Thiel said there were also some minor building collapses in the storm's aftermath.

Videos on social media showed dramatic rescues in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Officials said that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is also working with the city on providing resources to affected residents.

Among other storm-related updates:

• Energy company PECO, which serves Philadelphia and most of its neighboring counties, reported that over 31,000 customers were affected by outages Thursday evening. Montgomery County and areas north of Philadelphia were affected the most, according to the company’s outage map.

• Public transit was also impacted by the tropical storm. SEPTA service is operating with delays and cancellations.

• The Streets Department is still collecting trash and recycling in areas where flooding isn't occurring. Philadelphia libraries and government buildings are closed.

• The Philadelphia Water Department said that crews are working around the clock to help keep streets from flooding. The agency asked that clogged streets be reported to its 24/7 emergency line: (215) 685-6300. Also, for flooding updates, residents can text READYPHILA to 888-777 for alerts.

• School District of Philadelphia students will be engaged in 100% digital learning and instruction Friday as school buildings will be closed due to the aftermath of the storm.

District offices were closed and staff worked remotely.

All after-school activities including practice, games, extracurricular activities and after-school care were canceled Thursday.

However, schools dismissed at their normal time and staff remained in school buildings until all students were picked up or dismissed.

District officials delayed its opening Thursday for two hours for schools that open at 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. They also closed the James Dobson Elementary School and Albert M. Greenfield School due to power outage issues.

• The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management has opened reception centers for people who may be impacted by storm damage, including flooding at their residence. A reception center is a safe location operated by the city and Red Cross where people can go to get out of harm’s way, receive information and guidance along with resources and basic necessities to those affected.

As flooding continues to worsen in Philadelphia, the shelter at West Philadelphia High School at 49th and Chestnut is open for residents who have been displaced.

• City buildings were closed Thursday. Employees were encourage to work from home.

• Trash and recycling collections continued in areas unaffected by flooding, but the Sanitation Department told residents to expect delays.

• The First Judicial District of Philadelphia also closed city courts Thursday.

• SEPTA said that service is operating with delays of up to 30 minutes. Some customers were reporting delays of up to 2 hours. The transit authority said that cancellations are possible due to residual effects from the tropical storm.

For all SEPTA updates and cancellations, call (215) 580-7800 or visit

This is a developing story, please check for updates.

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