Well folks, we made it to Friday — and Labor Day weekend — but it’s been a hectic week (to say the least) so let’s take a minute to acknowledge that and breathe.
How’s everyone doing? OK? I hope so. You’re reading The Inquirer Morning Newsletter, and today we dive into all things Ida, the hurricane whose remnants barreled into the Philly region, killing at least five people. We get into the devastating aftermath and resources you need to navigate these next few days and weeks.
But first, a note to readers: We’re taking a short break for the holiday weekend and will be back in inboxes on Sept. 8. Try not to miss us too much, but be sure to follow along with all our coverage at inquirer.com.
We’d also love to hear your thoughts. Send us a reply, and let’s start a conversation.
— Sam Ruland (@sam_ruland, firstname.lastname@example.org)
One of the most disruptive storms in the Philly region’s weather history was blamed Thursday for killing five people, causing record flood levels, spawning at least six tornadoes, and leaving some people in disbelief.
Record flooding along the Schuylkill and significant spillage from the Delaware forced evacuation of homes, swamped businesses, and rendered major highways impassable.
The city was spared tornado damage this go-round, but its western suburbs weren’t.
“You can’t imagine the damage,” said Giny Cairon-Vitelli, who lives in Upper Dublin Township, Montgomery County, where a woman was killed when a powerful tornado sent a tree crashing through her house.
At least four other deaths were reported, including that of a 65-year-old man who drove into floodwaters of the Unami Creek.
Across the Delaware River in Mullica Hill, Gloucester County, tornadic winds blew debris “a thousand feet in the air,” according to the National Weather Service, whose investigators were examining eight possible tornado sites. The twister raced across the feed cornfields of the state’s biggest dairy farm, destroying acres of the crop, damaging every building, and killing three of the farm’s 1,400 cows.
Also, dozens of sewage and stormwater pipes overflowed during the surge from Ida’s remnants Wednesday into Thursday, emptying untreated water directly into Philadelphia’s major waterways.
Now, Pennsylvania residents and businesses are waiting to find out whether the commonwealth will receive federal relief for damage from Ida. Biden hinted at aid for states but it’s unclear whether Pa. and N.J. will get some.
Reporters Anthony Wood, Erin McCarthy and Vinny Vella recap the storm and its damage
Need some help? Take a look at these resources we compiled to help you navigate storm recovery.
Philly Ida resource guide: Safety tips, road closures, post-flooding advice, trash delays, downed trees, and more. What you need to know about staying safe, city services, and what to do now.
Have you had storm damage to your home or business? Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. But it may cover wind damage. Check the fine print. Here’s how to file an Ida-related damage claim for wind and flooding.
Wondering what to do after a flood in the Philly area? Documenting, disinfecting, mold prevention: How to clean up the mess.
Here’s our latest list of restaurants, large performance venues, universities, and gyms in the Philly region where you need to show proof of vaccination.
Should you laminate your vaccination card? What if you lose it? Here are the dos and don’ts.
Here’s what you need to know about medical exemptions.
It could be time to upgrade your face gear. Which masks work best?
What you need to know today
It was revealed Thursday that there is a “high probability” that police gunfire killed Fanta Bility, the 8-year-old shot outside a football game in Delaware County last week. Officers likely struck Fanta when they fired at an unidentified gunman who had been shooting out of a crowd, District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said Thursday. Stollsteimer also said in a statement that a preliminary investigation has determined that three Sharon Hill officers — whom he did not identify — likely shot and wounded three other people during the episode, including Fanta’s older sister, a cheerleader who suffered a graze wound while leaving the stadium.
The Supreme Court’s decision on a Texas abortion ban raises the stakes for the Pennsylvania governor’s race. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has vowed to veto any effort to curtail abortion access, but his term ends in January 2023 and next year’s gubernatorial election could put a Republican in office, likely clearing a path for a strict abortion ban to become law. Republicans already control the legislature and are not expected to lose it next year.
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers have a tentative deal that would boost the pay of 13,000 teachers, counselors, nurses, and other support staff by 9% over three years. Here’s everything else you need to know about the PFT’s new contract.
“We don’t want to lose a lot more lives than we already lost”: New Jersey students returned to the classroom for a new year with mask mandates in place and schools ready to enforce.
Through your eyes | #OurPhilly
“Darlin’, I’m just tryin’ to tell ya that there’s always been a rainbow hangin’ over your head.” Seemed appropriate @denisewalksphilly.
Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.
🏙️ Made In America’s return to the Ben Franklin Parkway this weekend has made Philly the third-most-popular destination for Airbnb guests during Labor Day. Festival organizers expect 50,000 to 60,000 attendees per day at the two-day music event — the largest in the city since the start of the pandemic.
🎵 And speaking of the music festival, we’ve got you covered with the 10 acts you CANNOT MISS. From Justin Bieber to Lil Baby, this lineup is insane.
🍽️ Philadelphians have been readying the welcome wagon as hundreds of Afghan evacuees arrive in the city. Here’s how a crew of Philly restaurants and volunteers came together to feed Afghan evacuees at the Philadelphia airport.
🦅 Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon might be spending a lot of time during NFC East games this season trying to figure out how to keep the opponent’s running game in check. The good news for Gannon is he has the personnel to do this, KC Joyner writes.
💸 It looks as if Philadelphia’s Jewish museum is emerging from bankruptcy. The National Museum of American Jewish History has received approval from a U.S. Bankruptcy Court for a reorganization plan that includes selling its building on Independence Mall to a former board member who will then lease it back to the museum for a nominal fee.
“As the news shifts to the shocking aftermath of Hurricane Ida, many Americans may think the Afghan war is over. Not so. The searing scenes of Kabul’s fall are having a powerful impact on America’s global image, including the abandonment of Afghan allies.” Columnist Trudy Rubin writes that the final U.S. defeat — set in motion by former President Donald Trump and finalized by Biden — raises questions about who and what our country is willing to fight for.
The newly active Texas abortion ban is “alarming,” but should serve as a reminder that Pennsylvania imposes its own limits on reproductive care and needs to stand ready for women from states such as Texas seeking medical care elsewhere, writes Elicia Gonzales of the Philly-based Women’s Medical Fund.
Two Penn professors debate following a petition signed by faculty asking the university to let professors decide whether they will teach all-remote or part in-person, as COVID-19’s delta wave continues. Although the signers argue that this step will make the Penn community safer, others counter that it’s not necessary to control transmission.
What we're reading
It was 2003 when the call went out for designs for a memorial at ground zero in New York City. And designs certainly came — 5,201 of them, to be exact — from amateur architects to top design firms. One came from Michael Arad. He called it “Reflecting Absence” and on Jan. 6, 2004, it was named the winning design. Here’s the story of how his vision for the 9/11 Memorial blossomed into a piece of New York’s everyday fabric.
While the Gulf Coast and the Northeast struggle with flooding and power outages, it’s easy to forget that wildfires are still raging in the West. NPR explains how our future on a hotter planet means more climate disasters happening simultaneously.
Just 39 female journalists are still working in Kabul after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan — despite the Islamist group’s assurance that they would honor women’s rights. That’s an abrupt drop from the 700 working in 2020. Time dives into the reasons why some women chose to flee and others stayed.
Photo of the Day
That’s one way to navigate the troubled waters. Be careful out there, fam. ❤️