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Passaic River Has Several N.J. Towns On High Alert

Region Still Smarting From Serious Flooding In March
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Residents in Little Falls were preparing for the worst Thursday, as approaching rains from Tropical Storm Nicole could cause flooding concerns thanks to the nearby Peckman and Passaic Rivers.

Residents in Little Falls were preparing for the worst Thursday, as approaching rains from Tropical Storm Nicole could cause flooding concerns thanks to the nearby Peckman and Passaic Rivers.

LINCOLN PARK, N.J. (CBS 2) — The Passaic River’s beauty is always on display but those who live along its banks are hoping the river’s roar doesn’t get too loud with rain heading this way.

“We take it seriously,” said Alex Fistunenko of Woodland Park.

Fistunenko should, especially since it’s practically in his backyard, water that invaded his home in March.

“In here it was up to nose height last time,” Fistunenko said.

It was the same story in Little Falls, a miserable memory that residents are all too familiar with.

“I’ve been through six floods so, I’m getting used to it. But it is, it makes you worry,” Ruth Scardilli said.

“In the back of my mind [I’m] making preparations. This time I’ll take my bird with me,” Barbara Cavallo said.

In Lincoln Park, Steve Marczak said the river already is three to four feet above normal, which is a big concern.

“If we get a lot of rainfall in a short amount of time, the water has nowhere else to go but in the river and once the river is up it’s got nowhere else to go but out,” Marczak said.

That’s why Fistunenko said he isn’t taking chances. His basement is sump pump and sand bag central, along with sealed windows, anything to keep him and his newly refurbished den dry.

“Third time within the past five years, it gets a little hard,” Fistunenko said.

The Peckman River also seems to be the major concern in Little Falls, but many residents said the Passaic needs dredging.

“If you go back there now, the water is actually knee deep – you can walk right across,” Bob Dombrowski told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan. “When I was a kid, growing up, we used to have boats. It was 10, 15 feet deep.”

Little Falls has military trucks, but the emergency management director said he doesn’t expect evacuations. He also said the town is doing everything it can.

“The Peckman River, in parts, has been dredged to some degree. The shoals have been created again, some of the rocks have been taken back,” said Det. Fred Batelli, the director of the Little Falls OEM. “The Passaic River hasn’t been dredged, but desnagged.”

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