Record rainfalls swell rivers, force N.J. residents from their homes

Weary residents in flood-prone areas of New Jersey are dealing with more water.

Rivers and streams have been overflowing because there’s been about half a year’s rainfall in just the last four weeks, said New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson, a professor at Rutgers University.

“We’re used to getting on average four inches of rain in a month and, in a very wet month, maybe eight inches. We’re talking about six times normal and three times the extreme,” Robinson said. “Our drainage system isn’t engineered to handle that kind of rain, so there is going to be flooding.”

Paving for development can lead to some flooding in urban areas, but Robinson said Thursday even the ground in wooded areas is so saturated that the rain water just runs off and raises the level of streams and rivers.

The amount of rain recently constitutes a hundred-year event, said Robinson. He said he isn’t sure what’s causing this above-normal rain pattern.

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