Residents of a Center City neighborhood along the Schuylkill awoke Thursday morning to find their streets filled with water afer a night of heavy rain.
On 23rd Street, cars sat partially submerged in parking lots and the first floors of several apartment buildings were flooded.
At 23rd and Race Streets, a lone silver sedan rested in the middle of the street with floodwaters halfway up the windows. An adjacent parking garage had flooded, too. Property management workers heaved pails of muddy water from a small storage room that sat slightly below ground level and was filled with water.
Two blocks away on Arch Street, Shusheng Han, a student at Drexel University, said she opened her window in a nearby apartment building Thursday morning to see her car underwater in the parking lot across the street.
"It's just terrible," she said, watching a tow truck drag her car to the street.
Cars moved slowly through shallow flooding on 23rd as residents picked through mud and debris on the sidewalks. The flooding crossed 23rd Street at some point last night, judging by debris on the street, but had receded somewhat by Thursday morning.
"I always complain about paying flood insurance," said Santo Apa, who said his house on Race Street was just barely spared, "but this one came pretty close."
Water cascading through manholes and storm drains ruptured a steam line near 16th and Cherry Streets, cutting power to traffic lights at 18 different Center City intersections leading to the temporary closure of two schools, Friends Select and Greenfield Elementary, Mayor Nutter said.
Tim Oleske, who lives in a condo on 23rd and Cherry, said his building warned residents to move their cars from the first-floor garage as floodwaters crept up from the river Wednesday night. Still, he was surprised at the extent of the flooding on Thursday morning.
"I went out the door to go to work and just came back and told everybody," he said. "We were in Vermont for Hurricane Irene, and it looked a lot like that."