Yesterday, in anticipation of today’s heavy rain, high winds, and flooding, Governor Christie signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency throughout New Jersey. The storm is expected to produce two to four inches of rain and major (possibly record-breaking) flooding on the Ramapo, Passaic, Delaware, and Raritan Rivers. Coastal areas are also threatened.
The order comes from the expectation that state, county, and local governments will need to open shelters and assist in evacuations, and that flooding will impede transportation and the flow of traffic throughout the state. Elements of the State Emergency Operations Plan — which broaden the powers of the state Police and authorizes the mobilization and deployment of the NJ National Guard — have been activated.
“Impending weather and flood conditions are likely to make it difficult or impossible for citizens to obtain the necessities of life, as well as essential services such as police, fire and first aid,” stated the governor in a press release. “With this order, we are taking proactive steps to ensure that state, local and county governments have every tool at their disposal in their response efforts, and are best positioned to marshal the resources necessary to assist and protect residents through anticipated flooding.
The weather forecast predicts that the Passaic river will slowly fall this morning, then begin to rise due to the heavy rain expected this afternoon and evening. Levels are expected to rise to 10.8 feet by early Sunday morning (flooding level is 7).
Read Christie’s executive order here.
PSE&G is also preparing for flooding and advises customers to use extreme caution and scan for hazards before entering a flooded basement. In the case of home flooding call 1-800-436-PSEG for information on how to proceed, but here are a few tips:
• Use extreme caution; expect floors and stairs to be oily and slippery.
• Don’t go into basements with standing water, raw sewage or obvious electric hazards.
• Stay away from the breaker box if it’s in a flooded basement. Don’t go into a flooded basement if energized wires are present.
• Stay out of buildings that remain in the floodwaters.
• Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage.
• Call your local fire department to pump out the flooded basement or ask them for instructions on how to do it in a way that will prevent structural damage.
• Customers should call PSE&G immediately if they smell gas 1-800-436-PSEG.
• If customers lose electricity and the basement is flooded, notify PSE&G at 1-800-436-PSEG and call the local fire department to have the basement pumped
• If water gets up to the height of the gas burner on a water heater or gas heater, shut off the supply of gas to the unit.