LITTLE FALLS/WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Heavy rain on top of already saturated grounds resulted in severe flash flooding throughout the Passaic Valley area on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 11.
The Peckman River, which runs through Little Falls and Woodland Park, overflowed its banks causing flash flooding throughout both towns.
Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark said that the situation was exacerbated in the area by a pile up of multiple vehicles at the Route 46 Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership. About eight vehicles were swept with the current into the river and, ultimately, into the highway bridge. Flood waters flowed onto the highway, closing it down in both directions for several hours. Water also closed down Main Street in Little Falls in both directions near Little Falls Road as well.
Flood waters late Saturday were affecting numerous areas in Woodland Park including the Dowling Estates. Residents there may move their vehicles overnight to the Park West Meadows Shopping plaza on McBride Avenue.
A significant number of businesses were affected, Kazmark said, including Best Buy, Kohl's, Party City, the Woodland Park Range, and Perfect Shine Car Wash. He did not know when those businesses would be able to reopen. Department of Public Works crews were called in to work Sunday on clearing drains and culverts.
If any resident is in need of assistance in Woodland Park, Fire Company #2 on McBride Avenue is being used as an evacuation shelter.
Residents are asked to not call 911 unless it is a true emergency. Residents may call 973-345-8111 if needed but are asked to keep calls to an emergency basis only.
Little Falls neighborhoods throughout town were also impacted, mainly in the lower Signac and Peckman River areas. Flash flooding at Little Falls Road and Lindsey Road was significant - uprooting large trees and lifting sewer covers.
The Civic Center on Warren Street is being used as a shelter if needed.
Totowa was also experiencing flash flooding on Riverview Drive in a number of areas as well as the Echo Glen neighborhood.
While the flash flooding event was caused by the Peckman, as of right now, the Passaic River was not expected to flood, according to Kazmark. However, he noted that rain was in the forecast for the next few days and that could change.