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Residents, Crews Begin Storm Damage Clean Up In Leonia, NJ

Uprooted tree damages a sidewalk on West Oakdene Avenue in Leonia, NJ Friday, September 30, 2011 (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

Uprooted tree damages a sidewalk on West Oakdene Avenue in Leonia, NJ Friday, September 30, 2011 (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

LEONIA, NJ (CBSNewYork) — Severe weather that hit the Tri-State area Thursday evening caused some significant damage to one New Jersey town.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports

The storm knocked down hundreds of trees in Leonia. Some downed trees crushed cars while others damaged homes or were uprooted, pulling up sidewalks and driveways.

“And the rain was going so heavy, we didn’t get out of the car and the next thing we know the car lurched and it was covered,” said George O’Shea, who was parked outside of a doctor’s office with a friend when branches and leaves hit his car.

For Bob and Mary Drexel, the destruction hits close to home when a fallen tree damaged their house.

“What can we do? Thank God nobody was hurt. I was there at the time yesterday working on the front porch, could have been hurt, but I wasn’t. Act of God, I guess one of those things you know,” said Mary Drexel.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

Crews from PSE&G worked through the night fixing hundreds of power lines that were also snapped by falling trees and branches.

As Leonia’s residents clean up from Thursday’s wet weather, water weary residents in flood zones in other parts of the state are waiting to hear if they’ll be bought out. New Jersey is trying to get FEMA to speed up the process.

“There is no silver bullet to stop the flooding,” said state DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “Flooding is going to continue.”

There are many residents who live in flood zones throughout the Garden State.

“But what we can do is focus on how do we ease the impact,” said Martin.

He says the best way is to buy out homeowners in chronic flood areas. “That is our primary focus,” he said.

Officials are also looking at elevating homes in places like Little Falls, but the big problem is federal money.

Martin says the governor has asked if New Jersey could be a pilot for how the program could be expedited.

Martin says it can take up to a year to buy out a home.

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