WALDWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Many people in our area are still cleaning up from last week’s storm, and more rain is on the way Wednesday.
It was a chaotic scene in Amy Duran’s backyard last Wednesday night.
“It was devastating,” Duran said.
The usually tranquil Ho-Ho-Kus Brook swelled more than 10 feet, flooding homes and turning backyards into a fast-moving river.
“It was raging. It was waves. Debris was coming down the river,” resident Barbara Maurer said.
“It was a really scary night,” Kurt Hopfenspirger added.
Down the street, Hopfenspirger went to see how high the brook had risen. He was surprised to see part of his property had washed away.
“The landscape of the property has changed significantly,” he said.
Hopfenspirger said beyond a fence was at least 10 feet of sloping, walkable embankment. But the high water created a mudslide, taking bushes, even trees, down the hill, toppling his fence and leaving the rest of his property vulnerable.
“This is not the last time this river is going to flood this way. It’s a dangerous situation,” Hopfenspirger said.
He said he was hoping for assistance in reinforcing the embankment to stop more of his property from washing away. It’s a project that could cost upwards of $50,000, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency almost immediately denied his request for disaster assistance.
Patrick Wherry, the administrator for the borough of Waldwick, told Caloway the Ho-Ho-Kus brook actually runs across private property, so it could ultimately be up to the homeowner to deal with.
“The borough is aware of soil erosion that occurred at this property during Tropical Storm Ida. We met with the property owners and surveyed the damage to their property. The borough is working to connect the property owners with resources made available through the state and federal government, as we do with any resident whose property was damaged as a result of Tropical Storm Ida or any other natural disaster,” Wherry said.
But Hopfenspirger said the clock could be ticking.
“You know, I’m fearful that the next big hurricane could come next week or next month or next summer, and even more of my property is gone, making the entire place unlivable,” he said.
So Hopfenspirger is hoping for dry weather, knowing more property could be washed away soon and hoping his house doesn’t go with it.
CBS2 reached out to officials with Bergen County and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, but neither responded.
CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report.