Soaked Burlington County hopes the worst flooding is behind it
7/14/2004, 12:19 a.m. ET
By JEFF LINKOUS
The Associated Press

MEDFORD, N.J. (AP) Saturated Burlington County residents hoped to begin an arduous cleanup Wednesday from a once-in-a-lifetime storm that dumped up to 13 inches of rain on their towns over a drenching 12 hours.

With more rain forecast for Central New Jersey on Wednesday, weary residents hundreds of whom were unable to return home Tuesday braced for the possibility of additional flooding.

"That's up to Mother Nature," said Glenn Nickerson, a spokesman for Gloucester County who was assisting with flood plan coordination in Burlington. "All we can do is make sure Emergency Services is prepared. The county is fully mobilized."

The rains damaged hundreds of houses, stranded cars, breached a dozen small dams, and forced untold numbers of road closings, some of which remain impassible.

Gov. James E. McGreevey declared a state of emergency for Burlington and Camden counties. New Jersey lawmakers asked President Bush to declare portions of southern New Jersey a federal disaster area.

Officials were keeping a wary eye overnight Tuesday on the North Branch of the Rancocas Creek, which was expected to crest at 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The National Weather Service forecast scattered showers and thunderstorms to move across New Jersey early Wednesday, possibly becoming severe as the day progresses, with strong winds and hail.

The National Weather Service predicted rain could fall at a rate of 2 or more inches per hour by afternoon.

On its Web site the weather service referred to Monday's rainfall as a 1,000-year storm.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

No damage estimates have been formulated.

The villages of Lumberton, Vincentown and Medford Lakes were hardest hit, with cars abandoned along flooded streets and downtowns strewn with mud and trash. State police said three small bridges were washed away in Burlington County.

At the height of the flooding Tuesday, about 760 people from Mount Laurel, Medford, Medford Lakes, Lumberton and Southampton were evacuated from homes and cars and taken to 10 shelters set up in schools and government buildings.

One man perched on the roof of a home in Medford was rescued by two other men in a canoe as the water lapped the eves of the house.

McGreevey's office said about 100 people were unable to return to their homes Tuesday. Most had checked into motels or were staying with friends, said Paul Freedman, executive director of the American Red Cross's Burlington Chapter.

The Red Cross provided 700 boxed lunches Tuesday and planned to begin handing out flood cleanup kits Wednesday, Freedman said.

A county official said about 200 homes were seriously damaged.

Transportation workers had begun inspecting the 12 dams breached during the storm, said the state Department of Environmental Protection. .

Officials were gearing up for the next high tide, at 2 a.m.

The Rancocas Creek near Pemberton is expected to rise to a record 4.3 feet by early Wednesday morning. The previous high was 4.2 feet on Aug. 31, 1939.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the creek near Vincentown hit its highest level since such measurements started to be taken there in 1961. The water peaked at 12.34 feet Tuesday morning, more than 4 feet higher than the previous record of 7.98 feet in 1978, said Robert Reiser, a supervisory hydrologist for the survey.
Although some time has passed since NJ has received the rain, I am curious if any people were affected by the flooding? and how they dealt with it.

If people from other parts of the country (or world) have been affected directly by flooding I would be curious to hear your thoughts as well.

Fortunately for me the most I ever have been directly affected by flooding is having a road or two closed to vehicle traffic and needing to find a new road around the water hazzard.