Wilmington mayor declares state of emergency after floods inundate parts of city

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Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki Thursday signed an Executive Order after floodwaters from the remnants of Hurricane Ida inundated some neighborhoods.

High water persisted all day from creeks and rivers in the area. Wilmington was not alone in Delaware in seeing damaging floods that left roads closed and some vehicles submerged and perhaps destroyed.

The mayor signed the order citing  “flooding, property damage, and dangerous conditions” from the storm.

The broad authority granted to a Mayor of Wilmington during an emergency has been used during previous weather-related incidents such as snowstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes, as well as the Covid-19 public health emergency beginning in March 2020. 

“Obviously, this terrible storm has caused extensive flooding damage throughout the City,” Purzycki stated. “The Brandywine River rose to levels not seen in a hundred years, and our first responders did a marvelous job today of ensuring that everybody was safe and protected. Our police, fire, and emergency management personnel working alongside county and state partners and with teams from Public Works, Licenses and Inspections, and Parks and Recreation all responded heroically to assist those in need throughout a long and difficult day. We all owe them all a debt of gratitude.” 

Unlike some areas, Wilmington did not see any deaths or serious injuries from the storm.

Purzycki spent the morning overseeing operations and surveying damage in various parts of the City. In all, more than 200 people were rescued by the Wilmington Fire Department and partner agencies during the day.

Residents displaced by flooding and in need of overnight shelter are estimated to be several dozen at most.

A State Emergency Shelter has been opened at the Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) at 3707 North Market Street. Shelter operations are being coordinated by the City of Wilmington, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and the American Red Cross.

According to Emergency Management Director Willie J. Patrick, Jr., starting tomorrow, the city will move from a rescue and recovery operation to the Damage Assessment and Debris Management phase, working in conjunction with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.

Gov. John Carney took a look at flooding during a visit Thursday afternoon.

Members of the Delaware National Guard were also assisting.

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