LITTLE FALLS/WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Gov. Phil Murphy today declared a state of emergency for Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Passaic counties, which will help assist in recovery efforts in the areas affected by flash flooding which occurred on Aug. 11.
Murphy and other officials toured a Little Falls neighborhood near the Woodland Park border devastated by flash flooding on Monday.
“There is no doubt that parts of our state have received nothing less than historic amounts of rain, and some communities received an entire month’s worth in just a few hours,” said Gov. Murphy. “(The declaration) will allow us to focus resources into the most impacted areas, as necessary."
On Aug. 11, some five inches of rain fell in approximately one hour, creating a massive deluge from the Peckman River. The situation was exacerbated in the area by a pile up of 42 vehicles at the Route 46 Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership that were swept with the current into the river and, ultimately, into the Rt. 46 highway bridge.
In Little Falls, about 190 residences were damaged by the flooding with 20 of those homes rendered uninhabitable and residents displaced. Mayor James Damiano estimated the residential damage was over $4.9 million.
In Woodland Park, some 210 homes and 75 businesses sustained flood damage, according to Mayor Keith Kazmark. He estimated that the flooding caused about $3.5 million in damage. Municipal facilities affected include the McBride Pump Station, the Boys & Girls Club/Senior Center, Dowling Park and Memorial Field.
Murphy urged impacted residents and businesses to carefully document all property damages caused by flooding to the appropriate county Office of Emergency Management. Businesses may also account for revenues lost due to the floods.
Damiano and Kazmark held a joint press conference call with the media Tuesday afternoon, broadcasting it on Facebook live as well, providing updating the residents.
Damiano said that crews have cleared debris out of the Peckman River, however debris needed to still be cleared from the banks.
In Woodland Park, a contractor was brought in to clear out culverts and the Peckman of debris.
Both expressed their appreciation to the governor for his support and noted that the declaration was the first step in obtaining relief funding.