New Jersey declares ‘state of emergency’ for five flooded counties

Flooding in Brick, NJ near the Greenbriar senior community on Monday (Brick Police Department photo)

Flooding in Brick, NJ near the Greenbriar senior community on Monday (Brick Police Department photo)

This weeks heavy rains have taken their toll in the Garden State. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Bergen, Essex, Passaic, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

The order allows the state to focus resources into communities most affected by recent flash flooding.

Murphy said his administration is working with various agencies to determine the best course of action.  “The state is continuing to coordinate with county and local officials as well as volunteer organizations to meet the immediate needs of residents driven from their homes for shelter and emergency food and water,” said Murphy.

The Governor cautions more rain could be on the way and the ground is saturated and might not be able to absorb it.

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“Our job as public officials first and foremost is to ensure that everyone is safe, especially since we may not be out of this weather pattern yet,” he said. “Almost without question, we’re going to see more rainfall and we’re sort of stuck in this vortex for the next looks like five or six more days at a minimum.”

Aerial photo of Brick, N.J. on Monday. The highway on the right is the Garden State Parkway. (Brick Police Department photo)

For the state to qualify for federal relief from FEMA or the Small Business Administration, Murphy said it has to meet certain damage thresholds.

“That means for individuals and homeowners documenting any physical damage to property.  Business owners should document revenue losses tied directly to the floods as well as property damage,” said Murphy. Local officials should continue to document damages for debris removal such as downed trees and mud from streets and emergency protective measures such as sandbagging and pumping out floodwater.”

The governor said he remains committed to the longer-term goal of creating more resilient communities that can withstand severe weather and will use the lessons of the past several days to examine ways to do that.

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