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.