BERNARDSVILLE, NJ — With about 43 percent of the borough still without power after Tuesday’s tropical storm, Bernardsville faced additional emergency calls Friday morning when three more trees came down during rain showers.
“We had a tree come down this morning on Washington Avenue this morning from the heavy rain because the ground was still soaking wet from the previous storm,” Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine said. “A big tree came over and snapped a telephone pole. We had three trees come down this morning. There are still a lot of hazards lingering, including the weakened root structure of trees. We ask residents to report hazardous or leaning trees so we can take corrective action, and if the trees are on their property it is their responsibility to get them taken care of.”
As of early Friday afternoon, 1,523 residents still had no power, which is about 43 percent of the borough. However, about 500 residents did have their power restored between the beginning of the day Friday and midday.
“A lot of roads are still closed,” Valentine said. “The borough removed all trees that did not involve power lines within 24 hours of the storm. What remains are trees touching power lines, and roads closed with electrical wires down or tangled in trees.”
Roads in Bernardsville that were still closed as of Friday afternoon included Clark Road, Claremont Road in the area of Post Lane, Dayton Crescent,, Post Road, Windwood Road, a cul de sac where some people have no access to their homes, Ballantine Road and Sutton Road, a private street with seven homes.
The Bernardsville Police Department’s Facebook page was brought back online this week after being dark for the last couple of months because of threats and abuse.
“We put Facebook back on line for this event. We felt it was vital to community communications,” Valentine said. “So far so good.”
The chief said that many residents have been without water since Tuesday.
“About two-thirds of the residents rely on private wells that are electrically operated,” Valentine said. “They have no water. We have set up a water station at Bernardsville pool where people can fill up containers and get safe drinking water in the parking lot at the pool. We’ve also made arrangements with the pool staff for any residents with no water to be able to use the shower facilities at the pool just by declaring their residency.”
Valentine reminds residents that, while much of the borough remained without power, some of the downed wires are, in fact, live, and to exercise extreme caution.
“There are still wires down that are dangerous,” he said. “Some places do have power, and these wires are live feeding power back through them. People need to be very careful not to approach wires or try to remove trees mixed up with wires.”
The borough is operating a community resource center at the library where residents can cool off, recharge cell phones and laptops and get information. “People have been staffing that every day since Tuesday night,” Valentine said. “They have to undergo temperature checks, masks are required, there is limited space, and they must exercise social distancing.”
As widespread as this storm’s impact on Bernardsville has been, Valentine said it’s still not as bad as the one everybody remembers from eight years ago.
“This was not as bad as Sandy,” he said. “There’s not nearly as much damage, but it seemed like all the trees that came down this time came down in all the wrong places.”