New Jersey residents urged to evacuate as Passaic River crests banks

A combination of 2"-4" of rain along with saturated ground and melting snowpack could mean widespread flooding

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Friday, January 12, 2024
Overflowing river banks impact New Jersey residents
CeFaan Kim has the story.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Frustration and exhaustion overcame residents as the Passaic River rose Thursday and crested its banks after Tuesday night's heavy rain.

Officials were concerned that once the river crested, conditions would become even more dangerous for residents -- and it all comes ahead of another round of rain on Friday night.

People who live in low lying areas were urged to evacuate their homes as Passaic River overflowed its banks Thursday evening.

"As of this year this is the second time it's been this bad," said one resident.

Other residents in the area say this is the worst flooding they've seen since Ida.

"You wake up, the electricity is shot. Now you gotta wait for them to repair the electricity," said Robert Brown. "You're in a hotel. It's very inconvenient."

The conditions Thursday wasn't much better in Lincoln Park, where an 8-foot-tall Santa was abandoned by his reindeer.

Wednesday night, the Pompton River overspilled its bank with over 20 feet of flooding.

"I worry honestly that a giant sinkhole is gonna swallow up all these homes," said Kristen Perry.

Over in Little Falls, the water levels gave residents an unexpected lakeside view.

Of course, this all comes weeks after Tuesday's major winter storm dumped a dose of rain heavy enough to prompt those concerns about crest levels.

Raegen Medgie is in Wayne, NJ with the story.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was on the ground in the affected areas Thursday and announced help would be on the way in the form of $10 million in funding to elevate or buy out flood insured properties most heavily impacted by flooding last month.

"We're going to turn over every stone we can," said Gov. Murphy. "Whether it's state money, county perhaps."

Meanwhile back in Paterson, NewsCopter 7 captured widespread destruction.

"Yesterday we had 12 rescue operations," said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. "You had localized flooding and you had people disregarding the barricades and driving into the water. Turn around, don't drown."

Officials say the river started cresting around 6 p.m., and it will continue to crest into the morning, possibly into Friday afternoon.

Even worse, more rain is expected Friday night into Saturday, which could lead to more headaches for residents in the area.


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