Tropical Storm Nicole Keeps Fire Co Busy

The view looking southeast toward Norristown from the roof of an apartment building in Betzwood. The river is normally flowing to the right of the tree line.

     Remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole crossed through Pennsylvania on Thursday, September 30 and Friday, October 1, 2010.  As the storm passed through southeastern PA, it dumped 7 inches of rain on the Norristown area and between 4-10 inches throughout the Schuylkill River watershed.  This large amount of rain cause flooding on the Schuylkill River and tributary streams, including the Perkiomen and Skippack Creeks, in Montgomery County.

Station 46 was first dispatched to the Jefferson Apartments on Marshall St for an automatic fire alarm (AFA) and a medical emergency at 02:30 in the morning. An investigation determined that the basement of the building was filled with several feet of water and that residents would need to be evacuated from the building. This operation took several hours and units were available from the call by 08:00.

A water rescue call was dispatched for Stonybrook Drive at 03:45 followed by another water rescue at S Trooper Rd and Blvd of the Generals at 04:50.  We were again dispatched at 06:24 to assist station 53 with a water rescue at Arcola Rd and Level Rd.  During that rescue, another water rescue was dispatched for Lower Providence at Pawlings Rd and Sullivan Blvd.  Our water rescue unit also assisted on that call.  Another water rescue was dispatched at 07:01 for Sentinel Ridge in the Betzwood section of the township. By this time, the parking areas for Riverview Landing and the Lofts at Valley Forge were flooding and fire, police, and township personnel worked to ensure that residents who had not yet relocated their vehicles to higher ground did so as soon as possible.  Another water rescue was dispatched at 10:23 for Minuteman Ln, but this call was unfounded and it was eventually discovered that the affected party was actually safely on their way to Philadelphia along the Schuylkill Expressway.  Our next water rescue was dispatched at 11:24 for E Indian Lane to assist some residents with evacuating their home.

There were also several pump details and AFA calls handled throughout the day on Friday.

Below is a graphic showing the 24 hour rainfall throughout the Schuylkill River watershed.  West Norriton and Norristown are in the lower right hand corner, in the red band of heavy rainfall.

Below is a graph showing the Schuylkill River cresting just over 18 feet at 11:15 in the morning on Friday.  At this level, homes and roads in portions of Port Indian and Betzwood were flooded.