May 1, 2014 at 7:48 AM
GREEN BROOK, NJ -- The roads are opening, the waters are receding and the rain has slowed to a drizzle, and the majority of the community escaped what could have been catastrophic flooding.
Some North Plainfield neighborhoods were evacuated, including a few houses on Taft Avenue and a stretch of Parkview Avenue where Councilman Frank Righetti lives. The Green Brook regularly floods into the backyards and onto the road but rarely crosses the street to Righetti's home.
"The police announced an evacuation driving down the street," said Righetti. "We didn't feel threatened on my side of the street."
North Plainfield Office of Emergency Management Brian Martin reported that the shelter had to be changed from the Vermuele Community Center to the Middle School gym due to a power outage. Fewer than a dozen people required the facility.
U.S. Route 22 was closed last night due to significant standing water at North Drive in North Plainfield, and Rock Avenue and Washington Avenue in Green Brook, but all intersections have cleared and are open for the morning commute. Jefferson Avenue in Green Brook on the Plainfield and Dunellen borders is also now passable.
Businesses on Route 22 stayed open despite the closures of intersections. Staff at the 7-11 on Route 22 East in North Plainfield, only a block from the North Drive intersection that had a foot of standing water, said they only close when New Jersey declares a state of emergency or they are told to evacuate by the local police.
The National Weather Service reports that less than half an inch of rain is likely, and that unless a thunderstorm develops over the area most of the small streams and brooks will continue to lower. However, the flash flood watch is still in effect until noon and residents and businesses should continue to watch waterways for rising levels.