Schuylkill River

I-76 Reopens in Both Directions, I-676 Remains Closed After Major Flooding Hits Philly

I-676, I-76, the Kelly Drive and Martin Luther King Drive were closed Thursday morning due to major flooding on the Schuylkill River

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I-76 has reopened in both directions after up to 6 to 8 inches of rain from the remnants of Ida fell across parts of the Philadelphia region Wednesday, leading to widespread flooding that closed some of the city's major roadways as the water rushed from the Schuylkill River.

Click here for details on the continued impact of the flooding on the Friday commute.

In Philadelphia, the Vine Street Expressway (I-676), Schuylkill Expressway (I-76), MLK Drive and Kelly Drive were closed Thursday morning as water took over the roadways. Boathouse Row was inundated with water.

By Wednesday evening, I-76 reopened in both directions between South Street and the Vine Street Expressway. I-76 westbound had reopened around 5 p.m. while I-76 eastbound had reopened around 8:30 p.m.

Both I-676 and Kelly Drive remain closed.

Earlier in the day, water from the Schuylkill River flowed onto the Vine Street Expressway, turning it into a river of water that cut Center City in half from 22nd Street to Broad Street.

Cars and trucks were going through the flooded Schuylkill Expressway near 30th Street during the Thursday morning commute before PennDOT shut down the roadway at 30th Street and ramps between City Avenue and the South Street Bridge around 6:40 a.m. Floodwater swamped the roadway under 30th Street through much of the morning.

The Schuylkill River overflowed Thursday morning, flooding water onto Philadelphia's Vine Street Expressway. The roadway looked more like a river as water reached almost as high as the overpasses. NBC10's Mitch Blacher reports from SkyForce10.

By 6 a.m. the water level along the Schuylkill near 30th Street Station was already at near 16 feet, well above the major flood level of 14 feet.

A failing pump station near 22nd Street and I-676 was failing, leading to more flooding, PennDOT spokesman Brad Rudolph said.

There was no timetable for when the roads will reopen.

"These interstates could be closed for sometime," a state official said.

Drivers heading eastbound were being forced off at Spring Garden to go back westbound toward U.S. Route 1. But around noon a jackknifed tractor-trailer was blocking the on-ramp.

Philadelphia urged people to stay home and avoid the roadways.

People along low-lying areas up the river in Manayunk were urged to stay put on higher ground as the water rises. Debris could be seen flowing along flooded Main Street.

Roads off Kelly Drive in East Falls were also closed. And Main Street in Manayunk was swamped.

NBC10's Randy Gyllenhaal gives you a look at the flooded cars, apartments, homes and businesses along Main Street in Philadelphia as Manayunk was taken over by the Schuylkill River Thursday morning.

The Schuylkill River Trail was entirely underwater, SkyForce10 captured a person who was holding onto a pylon being rescued.

The Fairmount Water Works near the Philadelphia Museum of Art was underwater at daybreak, no sign of the normal dam you see at that point.

The Philadelphia School District delayed opening for two hours for schools that open at 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. They also closed the James Dobson Elementary School and Albert M. Greenfield School due to power outage issues.

Philadelphia libraries and government buildings were closed Thursday. The Streets Department was attempting to still collect trash and recycling in areas where flooding isn't occurring.

Public transit was also impacted: "Service is operating with delays and cancellations due to residual effects from Tropical Storm Ida," SEPTA said.

SEPTA has all the Regional Rail and bus lines affected listed on its website.

Data released by the National Weather Service shows unofficial rain totals from Ida as of September 2. Click on each data point to see the observed total.

Data: NWS Philadelphia • Nina Lin / NBC

The worst of the flooding was expected as the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia crested around 9 a.m. By 10:35 the water was still above 16 feet, falling short of the 17-foot record, but still very significant, according to the National Weather Service.

The best bet is to avoid driving anywhere if you don't need to as other roads near the river are also flooded.

The American Red Cross has set up emergency shelters at West Philadelphia High School and Roxborough High School in the city.

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