SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A major cleanup effort was under way Thursday, a day after powerful thunderstorms left major roads in New Jersey under several feet of water and some car owners with big repair bills.

As CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported, what looked like a river of water rushed through Scotch Plains on Wednesday afternoon.

PHOTOS: Scotch Plains Flooding

The parking lot of a gas station on Park Avenue was covered in mud Thursday and the convenience store was still full of water.

“I haven’t seen anything like this in 40 years,” Joan Lozowski said.

At EJ’S Auto next door, flash floods made the place unrecognizable, soaking and destroying all of the equipment.

“It’s a mess. It was spotless, now it’s a total disaster,” Phil Vicari said.

John Hutchinson took video of the storm outside his home on Mountainview Avenue. The storm sat over the town for about three hours, and the drenching rain went right into his basement.

“The water kept coming,” he said. “It wasn’t stopping.”

Hutchinson was spending Thursday airing out his  basement. He said several inches of water damaged everything in one corner.

“Some furniture, computer, and some tools and stuff,” he said.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Plainfield, Delaine Lane, her husband and son spent the morning clearing out the garage, where the floor is still muddy, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported. The brook behind their home flooded into their home. Some of their boxes had to be thrown away.

“But I really still feel that we’re blessed because I haven’t identified anything that I bought that can’t be replaced,” Lane said.

Flooding on Route 22 made the road impassable, and some drivers had no choice but to abandon their cars. Some vehicles were still full of water a day later.

One driver tried to start up his van on Catherine Street, only to discover there were still gallons of water in the exhaust. But he’s just glad it still runs.

Part of the roadway was washed out during the sudden downpour where Route 22 crosses a creek near Bonnie Burn Road. New Jersey Department of Transportation crews worked through the night, but urged commuters Thursday to use Interstate 78.

Once the water receded, a yard on Katherine Street was home to dead fish, and a pond was found on the other side of Rt 22.

Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover said he’s happy with the state Department of Transportation’s progress on fixing the stretch.

“I still can’t get over the fact that it sat over this one part of town,” Glover said. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

The flooding has taken a toll on businesses, too, especially on Park Avenue.

The water in the basement of an electrician’s business nearly reached the ceiling. None of the equipment on shelves can be salvaged.

“Everything is ruined, just ruined,” the owner said. “Terrible.”

Residents said it could take days to clean up the mess. Some say insurance won’t cover the damage.

NJ TRANSIT on Thursday resumed train service on the Gladstone Branch of the Morris and Essex Line. Buses were brought in after a downed wire caused signal problems.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 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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