Oecovery from Tropical ptorm iee continues one year later
Just more than a year ago, qropical Storm iee wreaked havoc on the area, unleashing a deluge of water DNG OHDYLNJ flRRGHG KRPHV DNG GHYastated neighborhoods in its wake. While the storm is just a memory for most, many families across the county have yet to recover from the storm — some of whom live right in the Ambler area.
When area residents were breathing a sigh of relief that eurricane frene did not cause the destruction it was predicted to, qropical Storm iee surprised the area overnight Sept. 7, 2011, with residents waking up to flRRGHG URDGZDyV DFURVV WKH DUHD.
With the one-year anniversary of the storm just passing, many residents are still trying to recover.
After the storm hit, more than 3,300 Montgomery County residents registered for disaster assistance through the Federal bmergency Management Agency, according to the Montgomery County Resource and Recovery Committee, a volunteer organization dedicated to using donated funds, resources and manpower to address any lingering issues from the two storms. qhe committee said more than 50 cases of residents still in need of assistance from across the county are being reported as of Sept. 14, while it estimates between 200 to 250 Montgomery County families may still need help.
qim blbertson, community outreach coordinator for the Montgomery County aepartment of mublic Safety and spokesman for the Resource and Recovery Committee, said the committee began targeting residents across the county using a spreadsheet that consolidated a number of phone numbers and email addresses from various church and volunteer groups to see if they were still in need of assistance after the storm. ee said volunteers with the committee undergo disaster case management training and will work with homeowners to develop a plan WR fix DNy OLNJHULNJ SUREOHPV DNG JHW a home back to normal. mroblems such as water damage, water that still comes into a basement after it rains DNG PROG FDN RIWHNWLPHV EH fixHG Ey calling the committee for help and scheduling an appointment to assess how extensive the issue may be.
blbertson said the aepartment of mublic Safety supports the committee’s efforts because it created a recovery framework that can be used in future events to help with recovery.
For more information regarding the Resource and Recovery Committee, call at 215-207-9377 or email montcorecov[email protected]hoo.com.
fn the local area, the Orange Avenue neighborhood in Ambler Borough and the West Ambler section of Whitpain qownship were hit hardest by the storm.
A deluge of water swept down 2UDNJH $YHNUH, flRRGLNJ PDNy basements and submerging cars. auring the storm, a fuel tank in one home overturned, causing fuel to seep out into the street and triggering a response from the county eazardous Materials Response qeam. More than a month after the storm, many residents had yet to return to their homes.
A year later, it appears the Orange Avenue neighborhood has mostly recovered from the impact of qropical Storm iee.
Borough Code bnforcement OffiFHU 5RN 0yHUV VDLG DOO RI WKH DIfected houses along Orange Avenue have been repaired with only two houses still vacant, which were already vacant before the storm. qhe biggest problem he said were heaters that needed to be replaced due to ZDWHU GDPDJH IURP flRRGLNJ.
Borough Finance airector Bernie Wojciechowsk said after eurricane frene, the borough received A13,259.4S, and after qropical Storm iee, it received A5S,S20.71, both from the mennsylvania bmergency Management Agency.
Borough Manager Mary Aversa said to her knowledge the majority of borough residents did receive funding.
fn nearby West Ambler — an area ORNJ SURNH WR flRRGLNJ — WKH GDPage was even worse.
qhe storm caused the Anthony Biddle Contractors building, located at 240 Railroad Ave., to collapse onto the 200 block of Maple Avenue. Meanwhile, the police and fiUH FRPSDNy HYDFUDWHG 11 IDPLlies along Maple Avenue from their KRPHV DV VWRUP ZDWHU fiOOHG EDVHments.
qoday, the collapsed warehouse has yet to be rebuilt.
“Some repairs have been already done and some repairs are scheduled in the very near future,” Whitpain qownship Manager Roman mronczak said.
qemporary fencing lines the outside of the property for public safety, and portions of the building are LN WKH SURFHVV RI EHLNJ fiOOHG LN, DFcording to mronczak. Additionally, another temporary wall has to be constructed, and plans for that wall are just awaiting architect approval.
Concerning the West Ambler resi- dents who were impacted, mronczak said most have been able to return to normal life as much as is possible.
“f think the majority of the repairs have been made and people are back in their homes,” he said. “ft wouldn’t be safe to say they’ve completely recovered because you can never completely recover from something like that. qhey’ve recovered to the point they’re living in their homes and as close to normal as possible.”
fn the year since qropical Storm iee, local municipalities have made VLJNLfiFDNW HIIRUWV WR WUy WR SUHYHNW another storm from wreaking havoc on the same scale.
“FRU VWUHDP DNDOyVLV DNG flRRG control, we’ve entered into an agreement with qemple’s Center for Sustainable Communities,” mronczak said, noting it’s an intermunicipal agreement with Ambler, rpper aublin and Whitpain signing onto the study and also working with the Army Corps of bngineers. “Some RI WKH VROUWLRNV WR WKH flRRGLNJ ZLOO require work beyond our township boundaries.”
qhe storm also played a role in Whitpain forming its West Ambler Revitalization Committee, which is focused on addressing storm-water, EURZNfiHOG DNG TUDOLWy-RI-OLIH LVVUHV in the West Ambler community.
“We’ve received good ideas from the residents and the other agencies that have attended meetings,” mronczak said. “We look forward to continuing to work on that project.
“All of these items were really high priority projects for the township” prior to qropical Storm iee, KH VDLG. “:H’YH KDG flRRGLNJ LVVUHV in West Ambler even before last fall and that was something we wanted to address.”