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Rains Subside, But Tri-State Flooding Problems Remain

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Flooding wash-out damage along Metro-North tracks on Danbury line (credit: Metro-North)

Flooding wash-out damage along Metro-North tracks on Danbury line (credit: Metro-North)

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HILLSDALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Heavy rains led to serious flooding in parts of the Tri-State Area on Monday.

Rivers and streams rose in parts of New Jersey, prompting overnight evacuations in some areas, and leaving residents furious over the response.

Some New Jersey residents tell WCBS 880′s Mike Xirinachs that they haven’t seen this type of flooding since Hurricane Floyd


The Pascack Brook overflowed at around 2 a.m. According to Hillsdale Mayor Max Arnowitz, the worst flooding was at the intersection of Washington and Broadway, and that’s where emergency personnel were going in.

Robert Weitz, Certified Microbial Investigator, discusses how quickly mold can form after flooding


“It was a monsoon, it truly was, I was shocked, I’ve never seen it come up so quickly,” one resident said.

Up to 60 homes in the area needed to be evacuated. Angry residents said they did not get enough warning to evacuate their homes.

Residents tell 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg that it seemed like a monsoon hit


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Hillsdale officials said they had warning sirens going off throughout the night and that they wished many people had evacuated on their own before needing rescue. Residents said were given a warning Sunday night to move their cars to higher ground and take precautions, but never to actually leave their homes.

“There was no order to evacuate and when it was finally time to evacuate, it was too late. No one could get out,” said resident Tom Kelly.

“I woke up at two this morning and it was a river outside my house,” said resident Nancy Culhane.

Once the sun came up, residents showed CBS 2′s Magee Hickey the damage to their flooded basements and backyards. Many said they have been through this three times in the last decade and they blamed their water company, United Water.

“We have to have some sort of help here. This happens way too often. United Water should be able to regulate the flow on the brook better than it has,” said resident Michael Terranova.

As the cleanup continued, some residents even found carp swimming on Center Drive. Local churches also opened their doors to help flooding victims.

Residents in Pompton Lakes blamed their problems on the flood gates they said the Army Corps of Engineers built at a dam on the Ramapo River.

“Now ever since they put the flood gates, we are flooding more and more because they are lowering river at random,” one resident said.

In nearby Riverdale, residents like 87-year-old George Donnelley spent the day cleaning nearly four inches of rain out their basements.

The weekend of heavy rain and melting snow brought major flooding to areas north of the Big Apple as well.

Parts of all the major highways, including the Hutchinson River Parkway, Saw Mill Parkway, Bronx River Parkway and Taconic State Parkway, had section closed due to serious flooding at various points throughout the day. As of 6 p.m. parts of the Saw Mill remained closed to traffic on both the northbound and southbound sides.

A West Nyack couple told WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane that three years ago during a flood they took their rowboat out and help neighbors get to their cars


The rains also proved deadly on a stretch of Route 202 in Yorktown, where two pedestrians were struck by a car around 5 a.m. Monday morning.

Lieutenant Kevin Soravilla, of the Yorktown Police Department, told CBS 2′s John Metaxas the man and woman were struck by an east bound vehicle.  While the man was hospitalized in critical condition, 23-year-old Jessica Lopez from the Bronx was killed.

WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane reports the water through the spillway above Mike and Nancy Lynch’s house sounds like a jet engine as it flows into the creek bed behind their West Nyack home of almost 40 years. So far, the floods have hit their backyard and a couple of inches in their basement.

In Connecticut, officials were reporting neighborhood evacuations, mudslides and road closures across the western part of the state because of major flooding.

The Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security reported Monday morning that evacuations were under way in Kent, New Milford, Southbury and other several other towns. No injuries have been reported.

In Southbury, floodwaters raced by, halfway up residents’ front doors. Cars were submerged and some people were forced to get around by speedboat.

Wilton man explains to WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane how he worked to keep his basement clear of water


Shelton officials said parts of two homes and two cars were swept in the Housatonic River near Oxford and were seen floating down the river. Authorities said the homes and cars appeared to be unoccupied.

In Kent, authorities said, about 40 families in one area were cut off from main roads and were evacuated, while Route 7 was closed because an ice jam on the Housatonic River broke and sent ice chunks and water onto the highway.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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