Drivers saved from flash floods and power outages in New Jersey – CBS New York
HELMETTA, NJ (CBSNew York) – New Jersey faces power outages and severe flooding associated with Henry.
Gov. Phil Murphy said these are his biggest concerns. He reminded residents to stay away from broken power lines.
READ MORE: Henry’s follow-up: the storm makes landfall in Rhode Island; Flash floods expected in all three states
Murphy said he was relieved the storm was not yet as severe as it could have been had the track changed, although he warned the persistent rains were going to present serious challenges. He urged people to stay at home and not to use the roads unless absolutely necessary.
WATCH: Governor Phil Murphy discusses Henry’s impact on New Jersey
Murphy discussed his biggest concern with CBS2’s Dick Brennan and Cindy Hsu.
“I would say flooding, especially in the central part of the state. We’re going to have several inches of rain, depending on where you are, when this thing is said and done. It’s windy, but no strong winds, luckily. Electricity is cut off in around 4,500 homes. This is frankly well below our worst fears. But I would say flooding, flash floods especially, but not exclusively, in the central part of the state, ”Murphy said.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, John Street in Helmetta has been underwater since 9 a.m. At one point, he covered a car stuck in the middle of a road.
“It was good one minute, and the next minute that brown water starts to seep into the streets,” said Sue Savage, a resident of Helmetta.
Savage said she woke her husband around 8 a.m. and told him, “We’re in trouble.”
“By the time we left the house the water was up to the ceiling in the basement,” Savage said.
Helmetta Mayor Chris Slavicek said the borough’s stream system was overloaded with torrential rains and overflows from other bodies of water, leaving roads washed out, businesses a muddy mess and homes destroyed.
“We have 71 displaced houses, hundreds of inhabitants, some major damage. The foundations are broken or unstable for residents to return, ”Slavicek said.
First responders arrived with emergency vehicles and rescue boats to evacuate people from the rising waters. A man and his dog came out later that day to see the damage in a canoe.
Mikayla Dent, 15, and her siblings were quick thinkers when they saw the water rise.
“I got up, I started to gather all my things. I brought necessities like my charger. We packed water and everything, ”Dent said.
Her mother, Annie, left at 7.20am for a training course. At 9 a.m. their street was underwater.
“Do you know what the interior of your house looks like right now? Boulanger asked.
“No, I’m waiting to get into the house. A little scared, ”said Annie Dent.
“Sure, you feel like your head is above water, but you don’t know what’s coming. The tides play a big role, ”Slavicek said.
There is a shelter set up at Spotswood High School. The Red Cross is there to provide support.
Torrential downpours from the storm trapped motorists, totaled cars and damaged homes in Middlesex County, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported.
“I woke up, my electricity was cut. I went to check something, started walking, there was water up to my ankles. I looked out, it was like a raging river on either side, and then finally they came and took us in the boats, ”said Judy Smith, who was evacuated.
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Mobile 2 showed a river crossing West Railroad Avenue in Jamesburg.
READ MORE: Henry follow-up: Suffolk County avoids high winds, but braces for storm surge
Helpless families stood in the water up to their ankles, fearing the water would rise further. Some were rescued by boats.
“My heart is broken, I am upset. Their homes are flooded… they are going to lose their cars, they are going to lose their homes, ”said Susan Konieczny, resident of Monroe Township.
Henri unleashed his power over the northern counties before hammering the central part of the state.
WATCH: Water Rescue in Monroe Township
The streets were impassable in Newark. Lifeguards on inflatable rafts guided people to safety.
Hoboken Town employees anticipated the storm and warned residents not to park in flood-prone areas. There are road closure signs to warn drivers.
PICTURES: Henri impacts the tri-state region
“I know it’s a lot more flooded on the street at the intersection of Jersey City and Hoboken. But I’ve never seen anything like this before, ”said Dinesh Sury of Hoboken.
The storm hit the city with record precipitation – 4 inches over a period of four and a half hours. This is the most recorded in a single storm since 2016.
WATCH: Severe flooding in Middlesex County
“We are the lowest point in Hoboken, so we expect to be inundated here,” said Erin Berkowitz, a resident.
Streets like Madison and Harrison looked like rivers overnight. People crossed just to get home. Water flowed on the sidewalks and in some buildings.
The streets of Long Beach Island were flooded.
Murphy said he is communicating directly with senior management at PSE & G and JCP & L to ensure utilities are ready to restore power.
At the Statewide Traffic Management Center in Woodbridge. We are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Henri to keep New Jersey residents safe.
This storm will continue to bring heavy rains to the state today, with the potential for flash flooding. Stay home and stay safe. pic.twitter.com/wo0m1aNL49
– Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 22, 2021
Rain in Essex County was relentless on Saturday night and most of Sunday, saturating the ground. As a result, many trees are expected to fall, including a Jessica Layton saw from CBS2 in Livingston.
Police were on hand to put yellow tape around the area because of the threads now tangled in the many branches.
The base of the trunk broke off and massive parts of the tree fell mainly on two houses. No one was hurt. In fact, a neighbor said the rain was so heavy he didn’t even hear the tree fall, and it did fall despite the lack of strong gusts of wind. So people are worried about what will happen from Sunday evening to Monday.
“We have already called the township and they are going to call PSE & G because there is a broken power line and also the cable,” said owner Jackie Chiu. “My main concern is the power line because for safety reasons, because it keeps raining.”
The Livingston Fire Department was also on the scene but eventually had to leave because there were so many calls in the area for fallen limbs, cables and water in the basements.
NO MORE NEWS: Watch: Governor Murphy’s Update on Henry’s Impact in New Jersey
CBS2’s Christina Fan, Meg Baker and Jessica Layton contributed to this report.