PISCATAWAY, NJ – As some Piscataway residents continue to clean up from last Thursday’s early morning rain storm, members of the township council advised homeowners to review and understand the terms of their insurance policies, saying they probably aren’t covered for flood damage.
“We’re working on having a seminar where some insurance carriers could come in to go over what the homeowners’ insurance actually covers and for people to be able to ask general questions,” said Mayor Brian Wahler at Tuesday’s town council meeting.
“We had a microburst that came through the town,” said Business Administrator Tim Dacey, which dumped about 4-5 inches of rain in about 2 hours on the Birch Run and New Market areas and part of Arbor in Piscataway.
The National Weather Service describes a microburst as a downdraft in a thunderstorm that is less than 2.5 miles in scale which can adversely affect aircraft performance and cause property damage.
“We’re going to try to get assistance from FEMA, but the problem is this wasn’t considered a full, targeted emergency,” said Mayor Brian Wahler as one homeowner described how he had not been able to get help from his insurance company after 6-8 inches of water seeped into his home at 2:30 a.m. causing extensive damage.
“Historically, when there’s a hurricane or tropical storm system moving up the coast, we intentionally lower the level of the lake which we started doing that Monday,” said Wahler about the storm prep that was done in anticipation of Hurricane Florence passing through the area.
“Fortunately, there were a lot of systems already cleaned out, but we do encourage residents that if they do see a catch basin in front of their house that maybe has some leaves on it, that they go out and snag them,” he said.
Wahler went on to explain that the volume of rain that fell last week was really the issue, and with the ground already saturated from previous summer rain events, “the ground should be acting as a sponge, which it is not. The water has nowhere to go.”
“It was just one of these things where there was a 2-hour period when we had almost 5 inches of rain fall on a certain targeted area in town which caused brooks and streams to overflow as did storm drain systems,” he continued. “All storm drains systems in every town (built over the last 15-25 years) are built to handle 2 inches of rain over a 24-hour period.”
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