'100-Year Storm' Brings Flash Floods, Late Afternoon Havoc to Summit

Credits: City of Summit Photo Services
Sections of top layer on Springfield Avenue gave way.
Springfield Avenue was closed between Hobart and Park.
Crumbled asphalt came to a rest against the side of the road.
While some reports indicated a collapsed road, the surfaced of the thoroughfare was all that gave way.
Rocks washed off an adjacent hillside, making passage tricky.
The volume and force of the water carried heavy stones downhill.
Downed tree limbs were also a common sight.

SUMMIT, NJ - A "100-year storm," classified by Union County as producing 8.7 inches of rain within a 24-hour period -- or at a rate in excess of three inches per hour for 60 minutes -- descended on the Hilltop City Monday afternoon, unleashing rainfall that approached four inches in a single hour.

“Typically, drainage systems are designed for a 25-year storm, and some of the older systems in town may be equipped for less,” said City Engineer Aaron Schrager. “When this rainfall intensity is exceeded, localized flooding occurs since the underground piping and the inlet grates cannot accommodate the significant flow. This occurred today.”

During the Monday afternoon storm, sections of the Central Retail Business District and the Canoe Brook area experienced flooding more severe than each of the areas have seen in the past decade.

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Sections of Springfield, Morris, Hobart and Wallace Road were washed out with roads becoming temporarily impassable. Flooding was also reported at the Municipal Golf Course

The Summit Police Department issued a Nixle alert notifying residents that Springfield Avenue -- between Hobart and Park -- was impassable due to sections of top layer washing away. In addition, rocks had washed off the hillside onto the road at Park Avenue, and a similar situation occurred at the intersection of Morris and Glenside Avenues.

Schrager reports that “each location that experienced flooding today will be re-examined and updated as needed when the Citywide Drainage Assessment Report (DAR) is re-released this summer.” 

Other storm-related incidents included:

- Several Summit Fire Department (SFD)-assisted vehicle rescues due to flooding.

- Reports of 20-30 flooded basements, including several in the downtown business district. SFD responded to assist in pumping out the flooded areas and securing utilities.

- Two areas suffered power outages, each affecting 21-100 JCP&L customers.

The Engineering Division and Division of Public Works have completed an assessment of the flooding and damage from the storm this afternoon. The Division of Public Works reports that it has cleaned and repaired all road damage to restore normal traffic flow throughout town.

Mayor Ellen Dickson and Council President Robert Rubino visited some flooded areas to check on residents and work with staff to assess the situation. City Departments will provide an update to the Mayor and Council on the storm response and areas where drainage can be improved at the next Common Council meeting on Tuesday, June 23.

The Fire Department will issue an update on storm response once assessment and reporting is complete.

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