20 years ago today, Tropical Storm Floyd moved along the New Jersey coastline, dropping over a foot of rain in inland locations but inflicting only minor to locally moderate beach erosion at the Jersey Shore, according to the National Weather Service.
“Floyd will be best remembered for the rain he produced throughout the Mid-Atlantic region,” a report issued by the NWS office in Mount Holly, NJ said.
A stalled frontal system oriented from the Northern Delmarva to Central Jersey “provided a focusing mechanism for heavy rain as Floyd moved north,” the report said.
While the Jersey Shore was spared significant impacts — courtesy of heavy rain focused inland, non-damaging winds, and minor coastal flooding — the Raritan River basin was particularly hard hit.
13.34 inches of rain fell in Somerville, Somerset County, according to NWS data.
“Flash flooding and flooding of poor drainage areas was widespread throughout the region,” according to the NWS. “Record flooding occurred on the Raritan River in Central Jersey.”
The Raritan River crested at 42.13 feet (28 feet is flood stage) in Bound Brook, the Somerset County community that received international attention after its downtown was inundated by flood waters that sparked fires largely due to electrical systems shorting out.
Some of the fires were impossible to reach due to excessive flooding, and National Guard helicopters were dropping water in an attempt to keep the blazes from spreading.
Similar flooding occurred in nearby Manville, which was largely cut-off. In New Brunswick, Route 18, the major thoroughfare into the city, was underwater.
A state of emergency was declared in the state, where four died and over 650,000 were without electricity at some point, according to NOAA.