Hurricane Irene’s wrath

It has become the flood that won’t go away.

Four days after Hurricane Irene made landfall in New Jersey, thrashing some areas with nearly a foot of rain, the state remains a patchwork of engulfed neighborhoods, its muddy rivers pushing into new territory, fouling all in their path.

As one community begins to dry out, another fills. As some residents return home, others flee with what they can, hoping the rest will be intact when they get back.

Hurricane Irene 2
A flooded neighborhood in Lincoln Park (John O’Boyle/The Star-Ledger)

The Passaic River is the latest flashpoint, cresting at record levels and flowing into the streets of Paterson, Lodi, Little Falls, Wayne, Lincoln Park and Fairfield.

Tuesday night, residents in the Bergen County borough of Wallington began evacuating in anticipation of the flooding to come. In some spots along the Passaic, the water is not expected to recede until the weekend.

Gov. Chris Christie, who toured several devastated communities yesterday, said he had never seen such widespread flooding.

“Some stuff I saw and experienced was pretty incredible,” Christie said during an evening briefing. “In Wayne, in an area that has not flooded before, I saw just extraordinary despair.”

That sentiment could be seen in the face of Mimoza Dhurim, 22, one of several people who refused a police request to leave a Ramada Inn in Wayne even as water lapped at the reception desk. Dhurim, her 8-month-old son on her hip, said her home in Lincoln Park had been flooded to the second floor.

“Where am I supposed to go?” she asked. “There’s nowhere.”

Read the full story at NJ.com (Aug. 31, 2011)

RELATED COVERAGE

➽ Hurricane Irene N.J. death toll climbs as floodwaters frustrate state (Aug. 30, 2011)

As the death toll from Hurricane Irene climbed to seven in New Jersey and 40 across the Eastern Seaboard Monday, rain-engorged rivers inflicted fresh damage and hardship across the state, washing out highways and chasing thousands more people from threatened homes.

Nine rivers and creeks had reached record flood levels, fed by Irene’s unrelenting rains, Gov. Chris Christie said during a press briefing in Manville Monday. All but the Passaic River had already crested, leaving residents in Fairfield, Lincoln Park and other hard-hit communities along the river with the specter of worse flooding this morning.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Christie said.

Across New Jersey, it was a day of jarring contrasts, gains and setbacks. (More)

Hurricane Irene’s N.J. legacy just beginning as floodwaters rise and commutes are obstructed (Aug. 29, 2011)

It will go down as one of the most damaging storms to hit New Jersey in a century, if not in recorded history.

But before Hurricane Irene takes its place in the record books, it has more misery to sow.

The state’s rivers, swollen by Irene’s relentless downpours, began spilling their banks Sunday, inundating backyards and basements, major highways and downtown streets. Many waterways were still rising, suggesting the worst is yet to come.

Even as 1 million displaced residents began streaming back to their homes along the Shore, tens of thousands of people began evacuating inland flood zones, a vast expanse stretching from the state’s northeast corner to Trenton. (More)

 


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