Frustrated NJ Residents Describe Flooding Plight

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) — Hundreds of people remained out of their homes Saturday as major flooding continued along the Passaic and Raritan rivers in New Jersey.

Flooding was still occurring along the Passaic in places like Little Falls and Pompton Plains. The flooding forced the off and on closure of many roadways and kept flood warnings in place for many rivers and streams across the area.

For the second straight year, Louis Perry was forced to flee her Little Falls home and the rising flood waters from the mighty Passaic.

PHOTO GALLERY: Heavy Rains, Floods Ravage The Garden State, Westchester

“This is the worst I’ve seen it. I mean, it came in like the ocean. I mean I couldn’t believe the waves as it was coming in and I’ve been here all my life,” Perry told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg with residents in Little Falls

While many coped with the deluge by heading to area shelters and homes of relatives, Perry spent the night in her car.

“I got very little sleep — been crying most of the night,” she said. “This is how I have to live every time because I can’t afford to go someplace.”

Bill Portello was among those who decided to stay home and ride out the waters. Trudging out to speak to Sandberg with garbage bags on his legs, he said there was no water in his house now but was faced with waist-deep flooding earlier.

Allen Dearborn fought the steady current down Parkway Avenue to get out as his home surrounded by several feet of water.

“There’s nothing I can do about it so I just accept it. Because if I get myself excited, I get sick over it and it’s not worth it,” Dearborn said. “I just thought this year we would get a break, but unfortunately we didn’t.”

Governor Chris Christie met with residents as he toured the flood damage in Wayne on Friday. He was met with expressions of frustration from people like Kathy Sanzari, who was upset at the lack of a long-term solution for the Pompton Lakes dam.

Frustrated NJ residents look for emergency response from state officials.  WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

“He’s supposed to control the dam. He said he ain’t letting this happen, this is a repeat of last year. Same thing. Fix the dam,” she exclaimed to WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

Pequannock resident Wes Pearson agreed with those sentiments, saying something needed to be done.

“They built those dams up in Pompton Lakes and I know nobody wants to hear it, but since that dam has been in place, we’ve been getting flooded on a regular basis,” he said.

The Army Corp. of Engineers, which built the dam, said they stood by their project and that it was working as it should.  However, if an independent engineering firm found fault with the dam, the Army Corp. of Engineers said it would make the necessary changes.

Christie, who pledged help from both State Police and the National Guard, acknowledged the difficulty of the situation. He added that he couldn’t said snap his fingers and “make everything better.”

“They have every reason to be frustrated so…we’re working on those things now and we’re making some progress,” Christie said.

Meanwhile, water resource engineer John Miller said state officials had a number options and strategies that could mitigate the devastation including voluntary buyouts, elevating homes, structural projects and in some cases levees and dikes.

  • Frank NJ

    People above who doesn’t live in Wayne or Little Falls area should not be agressive. Things have change in the las 25 years, complaints are true and urban developers didn’t think about flood drainage as it happened naturally 25 years ago when houses were not flooded like today, FEMA helps some people but most of the residents pay flood insurance

  • jeffster

    Would someone please buy up these homes, already. For those who refuse to sell, they should reimburse all rescue costs and receive no subsidies for rebulidling. Short of that, make them put the houses on stilts with no basements

  • Auburn Dale

    So people deliberately choose to live in a flood-prone area, then complain about flooding and demand that everybody else pay for their damage. Sorry, they get no sympathy from me.

    • Jennifer

      Yes, these people live in a flood zone area. HOWEVER, the problem is that where this area used to flood once every 20 years or so, maybe. The past 5 years, they have flooded every year, sometimes multiple times per year. The only thing that has not remained the same is the dam they built upstream. I dont flood yet these floods are ruining the ability for us to run a business, or sell our houses in Little Falls, even though it is a small portion of the town that floods. Everyone in our town is affected by the floods, some just more than others. They need to fix the dam – because it was never like this before.

      • Auburn Dale

        The relative frequency of the flooding is IRRELEVANT. By CHOOSING to live in a known FLOOD ZONE, they willingly accepted the constant risk of flooding, so they don’t merit continued subsidies from the rest of us.

    • Christina

      Hhmm . . . I am going to choose to live in NJ, which is surrounded by water; then I am going to choose to live along a river; and then I am also going to decline flood insurance because that might cost me $30 a month; then I am going to whine when I get flooded out! I wonder if NJ residents have any common sense!

      My opinion – YOU DESERVE IT

    • RIch


      You are either mis informed or just stupid. People moved into areas that NEVER or RARELY flooded. Now they are. Yes, there are some who moved next to a river and always get hit but the bulk of the coverage was for people, LIKE ME, who are now effected because of government inactivity.



  • Sheila Amarnath


    I saw the news this morning about Louis perry. I would like to help her with a furnace and some funds for a water heater. Please let me know how to contact her.

  • Debra

    I saw a segment on this mornings news about Lois Perry living out of her car with her dog. She had no money for a hotel. Can I get in contact with her or the reporter? She can stay with me until it is safe to go back home. PLEASE, I’d like to help her.

  • joanne D.

    Good morning,

    I just saw the report on Lois Perry. I am willing to open my home to her and her dog.

    If possible, please email me her whereabouts.

    My heart goes out to all.

    Thank you.

    • Debra

      Hi Joanne, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was touched by the story. God Bless you. I was so touched by the story I like to help her too. Debra

  • blazz

    Easy solution … move.

    • Auburn Dale

      Exactly! By CHOOSING to live in a known flood zone, they willingly accepted the constant risk of flooding, so they don’t merit subsidies from the rest of us.

      • Carolyn

        people who live in flood zones, have to pay for flood insurance. that is what reinburses them. not you, you are not paying for anything. The government needs to fix the flooding, by stopping all the building so that the water has somewhere to go. Some of these people have been there for years, when it didnt flood, and now cannot sell even though they want to. Its not just so black and white. There are many sides to consider. Its very scary and horrifing to see that much water creeping up and up. We are in a house which NEVER GOT water until last year.. NEVER.. and now two years in a row.. its too much water and no where to go. Please on the river.. yes expect some water but almost a mile away.. you have to have some compassion. somewhere in there. Malls, schools.. its not just homes… highways…

      • Christina

        I completely agree with you Auburn Dale . . .

        And for Carolyn . . . HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF FEMA? Where the hell do you think the money comes from for that group? Yes, the government . . . the government gets the money from taxes . . . the taxes come from the taxpayers who unfortunately always have to pay for ignorant individuals! Do you think the people of Japan are going to whine about the Tsunami? No, they realize that where they live, there are many natural disasters that might occur. Do you think people in Kansas whine about devasting tornadoes?

        My advice – SHUT UP AND DEAL WITH IT YOURSELF; YOU SHOULDN’T RELY ON OTHERS. Your probably a democrat who wants everyone to receive some welfare money because of the flooding too . . .

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