Torrential downpours cause flooding, landslides; State of Emergency declared in NJ

Monday, July 17, 2023
Torrential downpours cause flooding, landslides; State of Emergency declared in NJ
Gov. Phil Murphy toured storm-ravaged sections of Warren County and said it was a "small miracle" there were no injuries. Toni Yates has the latest details.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Governor Phil Murphy toured storm-ravaged sections of Warren County on Monday and said it was a "small miracle" there were no injuries.

The governor spent time in Belvidere, less than a mile from the Delaware River and the Pennsylvania border.

Drone video of Lommason Glen Road in White Township shows a creek where the road used to be after Sunday's heavy rain produced landslides and flooding.

Meanwhile, on Route 46 in Knowlton, the cleanup is underway after it too was washed out. It remains closed Monday. A landslide sent soil, stones, and trees toppling onto the road Sunday morning.

Part of the problem we're told is some old unused train tunnels fill up with water whenever they have a big rain event, but this time the hill gave way and a waterfall that was a trickle turned into a gusher.

Kelly Canfield's home is unsafe to live in, situated on the washed-out Route 46.

"This? I've never seen in my life, but I want to know what do I do next because we can't stay there," Canfield said.

The governor is vowing to offer help.

"We're going to stay here as long as it takes. Incredibly important for people watching this to document every penny you spend," Governor Murphy said.

The water was so fierce that neighbors say people who live nearby barely made it out alive.

"They had to run with two young children through flooding water. It was this high, to get out of that house," said Karen Gralinski, a homeowner.

Granlinski and Eva Smith's basement flooded. They've lived in the home for 26 years, but this year could be their last.

"I was in shock for two days and now all I want to do is cry, because we worked so hard and we don't have a lot of money and we don't have flood insurance, so it's been very, very hard," Smith said.

Several hundred remained without power, and those people will not get their power back until the flooding recedes.

"I'd like to say I'm shocked beyond words, but the fact of the matter is I've seen this all too often in the past six years," Murphy said.

Murphy said it is a fear that this could become the new normal and said "we can't get dragged by that, we've got to get ahead of it."

They are doing what they can to shore up the infrastructure to keep this kind of thing from happening again, but the storms seem to be getting more intense.

Governor Murphy acknowledged that some people may feel they have no choice but to move.

The airports were also a mess on Sunday with hundreds of canceled or delayed flights at Newark, LaGuardia, and JFK all due to the weather. Fortunately, the situation had by improved Monday.

The area is under a State of Emergency to free up resources and aid.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said 5 inches of rain fell within two hours in Suffolk County. The state saw $50 million in damages from storms in the past week.

On Long Island, the rain overwhelmed storm drains on many roads and a police officer was hurt while directing traffic around flooding when a rental van hit his cruiser.

Parts of Westchester and Putnam County also got a lot of rain, flooding highways like the Taconic. Several trees came crashing down in Hawthorne on the property of a home that is on the market.

Near Philadelphia, severe storms and flooding Saturday left five people dead and several others missing.

A 9-month-old boy and his 2-year-old sister remained missing in Upper Makefield Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which is along the Delaware River, after they were swept away late Saturday afternoon while traveling in a vehicle.

The deadly flash flooding in Pennsylvania called to mind the torrential rain that led to at least 25 deaths in New Jersey when the remnants of Ida passed through the state in 2021. People abandoned cars along washed-out roadways as muddy waters overtook driving lanes and flooded low-lying houses then.

The latest round of storms come as several communities in Orange and Rockland counties are still cleaning up from flooding that happened nearly a week ago.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

ALSO READ | Orange County flooding leaves 1 dead as torrential rain falls on Hudson Valley

Tom Negovan reports on the flooding in the Hudson Valley region from Stony Point.


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