Rainfall totals in New Jersey have reached a record high as Tropical Storm Henri made landfall, leading to severe flooding and evacuations. First responders led rescue operations to rescue people from their homes.
Some areas of New Jersey received as much as 9 inches of rain, according to NJ.com. The most effected areas included parts of Central Jersey, including Middlesex County and Mercer County, the news outlet reported.
Helmetta Mayor Chris Slavicek told the news outlet that floodwaters had risen up to the doors of cars, and water was swamping into homes in the area of Railroad Avenue and John Street in the Middlesex County borough. About 200 people live in the area, which was under a mandatory evacuation order, the news outlet reported. Other areas of Helmetta were not under mandatory evacuation orders, the news outlet said.
Here’s what you need to know:
New Jersey Residents Gave Accounts of the Flooding As They Evacuated Their Homes
Slavicek told NJ.com he observed the flooding on the scene, and estimated waters to be about 3 feet high and rising. A resident from John Street, who identified himself as “John” to the news outlet, said his basement was “like a swimming pool” in an interview with the news outlet. He lived there since 1984, and had never scene flooding of that magnitude, he told the outlet. His home was evacuated.
“I don’t know where I’m sleeping tonight,” he told NJ.com.
Melissa Gibb, who also evacuated her John Street home, spoke to the news outlet as she packed belongings into her trunk outside the Helmetta municipal building. She said residents did not yet know when they would be permitted to return.
“Either they don’t know or they’re not telling us,” Gibb said, according to NJ.com.
Some residents took shelter at Spotswood High School, while residents in neighboring Jamesburg were offered shelter at the borough hall and John F. Kennedy Elementary School, the news outlet reported.
Kines spoke to the New York Post about the effects of the storm in the tri-state area, and said it is “probably a good bet” downed trees and power outages will last for days.
“When the winds are that strong, you’re breaking tree branches and knocking trees down and the power lines as well,” Kines told the Post. “If you’re outside in those winds, it’s extremely difficult to hold your ground.”
The National Hurricane Center reported that while Tropical Storm Henri slowed down over Rhode Island, “strong, gusty winds and flooding rainfall continue” in the area as of 2 p.m. Eastern time Sunday.
Kines told the Post wind gusts in New York City could reach up to 45 mph, but that heavy rainfall will likely be the bigger threat. He said flooding could continue in New York, impacting roads and subway stations. The heavy rainfall came after 4 to 5 inches of rain Saturday night, and he told the Post Sunday an additional 2 inches was expected.
There could be even heavier rainfall in some parts of the tri-state area, Kines told the Post, with 3 to 6 inches of rain forecast in some areas of Long Island, southeastern New York and New Jersey.
‘The Worst Is Yet to Come,’ Nassau County Executive Laura Curran Said in a Press Briefing Sunday
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a press briefing Sunday afternoon that those in impact areas remain home and off the roads, even as the storm appears to subside, according to the New York Post.
“The worst of the storm is yet to come. It may seem fine now, just a normal rainstorm, but winds will pick up,” she said.
“So if you can stay out of the rain and inside please do, so that our crews, our first responders get where they need to go to help people,” she added.
“Your best bet is to stay put and wait it out,” Kines told the Post.