Flood prone Bucks County residents brace for heavy rain as task force meets to find solutions

YARDLEY, Pa. - More rain and flooding brings back awful memories to those who live near the Delaware River in Bucks County. And on the eve of a State Task Force visit aimed at addressing flooding issues, that’s exactly what’s in the weather forecast.

"I’ve seen this water go up to the bottom of that bridge" says Mitch Bralynski.

He knows all too well the power of the Delaware River. Bralynski has lived near its banks in Washington Crossing for the last 71 years.

He also knows when it rains, PennDot trucks show up like clockwork, the ‘Road Closed" signs come out and his home in Upper Makefield Township becomes an island. "The road closed every time. Never fails," he added.

Flooding in Lower and Upper Makefield Townships have become a way of life for residents. Last July, a catastrophic flooding event made national headlines when seven people were killed, including three from one family visiting from South Carolina. Their car was swept away by historic flooding.

"Frankly, I worry. I worry about folks I represent and I hope to get through this storm without that type of tragedy," says State Senator Steve Santarsiero, from Newtown, Bucks County.

Sen. Santarsiero is part of the state's Flood Insurance Task Force, formed in November of 2023 by Governor Josh Shapiro after the tragedy to find solutions to help alleviate the high cost of flood insurance and help residents mitigate the flood risk.

Wednesday the task force will visit the site of last summer’s flooding and projects underway to help prevent it from happening again. Santarsiero points to projects like dredging of the Delaware River Canal and re-routing of local creeks as fixes to help local drainage.

"We are seeing more of these severe storms happen and happen with greater frequency. And frankly, when you have a large amount of rain in a short amount of time, it really does tax existing infrastructure," said Sen. Santarsiero.

The task force will come up with recommendations that may lead to change. People like Bralynski are hoping that change comes before more lives are lost.

"Nothing gets done. It’s been like this for years," he added.

Wednesday’s task force meeting is happening at the Lower Makefield Township Community Center at 1550 Oxford Valley Road in Yardley.

The public is also encouraged to comment. You can find more information here.

Coincidentally, heavy rain and flooding is expected during that task force visit to Bucks County.