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Governor Christie Tours Flood-Damaged North Jersey

Signs of life returning to area.

Signs of life are returning to the area as floodwaters recede.

Route 23 is open in both directions, although large puddles of water still cover outlying, low-level patches of land near the highway.

Pompton Plains Crossroad is open. But access to the Willowbrook Mall and surrounding area remains blocked off until further notice.

The access ramp to the Mountainview section of Wayne remains closed and the jug-handle ramp on Route 23 North at Alexander Road was closed. Vehicles from the Mazda dealership on Route 23 were moved to a nearby parking lot.

The A&P parking lot on Route 23 North is coated with mud and sediment from the Pequannock River, but the store (and others in the same mall) were open for business by Sunday evening.

The floodwaters on the Passsaic River appear to have crested overnight and fell slowly Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

As of 1:30 a.m. Sunday, the water level peaked at 11.8 feet, but it had fallen to 11.3 feet by 5:30 Sunday. The weather service predicts floodwaters will recede to 10.5 feet by Monday morning. Flood level is 7 feet.

More than a dozen roads across Wayne, including Route 46 and Route 23, were closed by flooding, snarling traffic for much of Saturday. Hundreds of homeowners throughout the township have been working around the clock to pump water from their basements, while other houses are surrounded by water.

As of Saturday evening around 7:30, traffic was backed up on Route 23 North for miles. One lane was being allowed through at Alps Road, although traffic was being detoured to that road. Click here for more information from the township.

Here's our blog on the flooding, from the past two days:

Saturday, 10:03 a.m. Route 23 North is closed at Alps Road. Traffic is being diverted onto Alps Road. Route 46 West is blocked off at Route 23 North and South.

Residents are urged to stay off roadways that may not be flooded now, but could be later on in the day.

For evacuation assistance or flood event information call the office of emergency management emergency help line at 973-694-5050.

4 p.m.

After touring flooded areas of Wayne and nearby towns, Gov. Chris Christie warned local residents Friday afternoon that if an order is issued for mandatory evacuations, they should comply and not base their decision on whether they think evacuation is necessary.

Speaking at a press conference at the Public Safety Academy at Passaic Community College in Wayne, the governor warned residents near flooded areas that just because the last time an evacuation was ordered it may not have been needed, does not mean that it won't be necessary this time. Every storm is different, he said.

Flood waters are expected to continue to rise overnight in area rivers, cresting late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Thus far, the only mandatory evacuation has been in Pequannock and there has been, "no loss of life directly related to this," the governor said.

The governor said he would work to offer buyouts to homeowners in areas prone to flooding, but acknowledged that on occasion the amount offered has not been enough to convince homeowners to accept.

He also defended state officials' decisions to allow building on land prone to flooding, pointing out that local officials also had to give their permission before construction was allowed.

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We've been upodating our reports on flooding throughout the past three days. If you know of something we've missed, please drop us a note.
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3:40 p.m. Earlier Friday, the governor stopped in Little Falls, just across the Passaic River from Wayne, and told told local residents there that National Guard troops would be available if they need to evacuate.

Donna Battista, who said she has lived here on Orchard Street since 1984, said there is three feet of water around her family's house. "Stick around for three or four days," she said, "it's going to get worse."

She said she and her husband and their chidren have been sleeping in shifts to take turns pumping water out of their basement.

3:04 p.m. Gov. Christie toured several towns near Wayne this afternoon, seeing firsthand the flood damage in Pompton Lakes and Pequannock.

The governor discussed appropriating  $120,000 to fund a study to examine the floodgates on the Pompton River and Pompton Lakes.

Some local residents have argued that problems with the floodgates has led to the flooding that has damaged their homes.

Stanley Mihunovick of Pompton Lakes, who said his home has been flooded seven times in five years, said he would take a buyout for his home if he was offered one. He said he has five feet of water in his basement from the current round of flooding, better than last year, when he had eight feet. But Mihunovick said he had just removated his house in September and now, "We're back to square one. "

He and his wife and daughter are among 100 flood victims who have abandoned their homes and are staying in the La Quinta Inn near Route 2, he said.

12:45 p.m. Senator Frank Lautenberg met with members of the media to discuss the availability of funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He said that he wants Governor Chris Christie to declare a state of emergency so the reimbursement process for flood victims can begin.

The senator said he plans on meeting with flood victims and that applying for FEMA funds is a "voluntary decision" on homeowners' part.

Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik said the Passaic River is expected to crest "Saturday evening into Sunday morning."

11:24 a.m. Police Chief John Reardon has said that the Passaic River is "rising rapidly" and that he expects river levels to be "equal to last year's." Sen. Lautenberg's press conference is starting soon. Governor Christie is visiting the town at 1 p.m.

10:04 a.m. The rain has stopped, but the worst flooding is still ahead as the water runs from yards and fields into streams and the larger rivers in the area. Floodwaters are expected to increase until area rivers crest sometime tomorrow.

8:45 a.m. The township is reporting that several roadways are closed, including: Hoffman Grove, Wayne Street/Clark Street, Fairfield Road, Fayette Avenue, Ryerson Avenue, Riverlawn Drive, Riverside Drive, Hobson Avenue, Kurland Street, Park Lane, and Meadow Road. 

For evacuation assistance or flood event information call the office of emergency management emergency help line at 973-694-5050.

Friday, 8:22 a.m. A stretch of Route 23 is closed beginning at Jackson Avenue; a detour to Black Oak Ridge Road is in effect. The parking lot at the A&P on Route 23 North is flooded. Businesses along the Pequannock River have sandbags in front of their doors. Low-lying parts of Pompton Plains Crossroad are flooded. The Pompton River in Pompton Plains is at a height of nearly 20.2 feet. 

7:13 p.m. Rain is picking up in intensity. Visibility is decreasing. The wind is getting stronger and stronger. Traffic is moving well on Mountainview Blvd. However, orange and white traffic barrels and road blocks are scattered at corners along the road, seemingly ready to be deployed should the roadway need to be closed. Pompton River is now at 12.1 feet high.

6:18 p.m. Pompton River is flowing well at the falls at Terhune Drive. The river's last reported height was nearly 12 feet.

5:30 p.m. Deep puddles have formed on Hamburg Turnpike, near Schuyler-Colfax Middle School. Vehicles are making it through them easily, but spray water several feet into the air when they do. Use caution if you have to drive around this area.

Thursday, 5 p.m. Sandbags are being delivered to the A&P on Route 23 North at the Pompton Plains/Wayne border. The Pequannock River is already high. The Pompton River in Pompton Plains was last observed as being nearly 12 feet high; flood stage is 16 feet high. Traffic cones are out near several jug-handles on Route 23, but, so far, none are closed to traffic.

enzio enrico March 11, 2011 at 05:25 PM
hi!! i m the owner of v & j pizza i d like too have more info and pictures about plains plaza 23 shopping centre !!!!! i d really appreciate it!!!!please !!! thanks
Scondo March 11, 2011 at 10:12 PM
I wonder if Gov.'s Flood Commission made the calls back in January asking the water retention lakes and reservoirs to lower their levels to accomodate the melt of the snow pack in March. Guaranteed, it wasn't done for the 25th year in a row.
Emma March 12, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Governor!!! What about Lincoln Park...they are under water too! You need to get more funding for the Green Acres Program and buy these flood stricken homes and get rid of them!!! These poor people can't even sell their homes in these least desirable flood areas!!! Lets do something for god sake!!!

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