Peter Del Rio has been flooded three times in the past two years. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do if it happens to him again.
“It took us months to recover from Hurricane Irene. Now it could happen again,” said Del Rio has he put a case of bottled water outside of Foodtown in his car Friday night. “We can’t go through this again.”
Del Rio was one of hundreds of people who packed grocery stores Friday night in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. The “superstorm” is expected to drop several inches of rain on North Jersey as early as Sunday. Severe flooding and high winds are throughout the area is expected.
“There’s still hope that it could blow out to sea but after what happened last year, I’m not taking any chances,” said Tina McVeigh. “Now it seems like whenever a big storm is predicted we get one that disrupts our lives for a week.”
In preparation for Sandy’s arrival, the state Department of Environmental Protection will raise the floodgates on the Pompton Lakes dam Saturday. Five feet of water will be drained downstream, allowing less water, officials hope, to flow as a slower pace, alleviating the flooding risk to low-lying portions of Wayne and Pompton Lakes.
“I hope we don’t have a repeat of last year,” said Iris DeMarco. “That was crazy. You didn’t know what was going on or when it was going to stop.”
Town and volunteer personnel have been preparing for Sandy for a few days. Police and emergency service personnel are ready to utilize new five-ton trucks and an ambulance van to evacuate and aid flood victims.
Wayne VOAD met on Saturday morning to discuss its plan of action. The volunteer organization will assemble and distribute freshly made food to flood victims and those who lose power because of the storm.
Some residents are being a bit more proactive this year than they were with Irene.
“I’m getting out of here and going to stay with my sister in Pennsylvania,” said Dory Egan. “We stayed around during Irene and didn’t have power for three days. No need to risk living like that again.”
The township will post updates, advisories, and weather-related warnings on the town’s website, the OEM telephone bulletin board at 973-694-5050, and cable channel 77.