NJ weather emergency: Drivers stranded, Kearny post office collapse, tornado damage
The fast-moving remnants of Hurricane Ida brought devastating tornadoes and torrential flash flooding to many corners of New Jersey.
The storm damaged more than a hundred properties in a town where a tornado touched down in Gloucester County while collapsing the roof of a Postal Service building more than a hundred miles away and flooding a terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency late Wednesday night after more than 11 inches of rain fell in some parts of the state and more heavy rain was expected to to fall until about midnight. An emergency declaration allows the state to quickly call on resources for rescue and recovery relief.
New Jersey 101.5 Meteorologist Dan Zarrow, who called Wednesday's storm "historic" in nature, said that while the rain would taper off overnight, the danger would continue through Thursday morning considering that rivers were expected to crest about noon.
The flooding quickly developed after several reported tornadoes touched down in Gloucester County, destroying more than a half dozen homes in a single Mullica Hill neighborhood in Harrison Township.
As the storm moved north, it caused scenes like this one in Millburn, where it looked like a raging river was ripping through the downtown.
And this scene in Clifton, where it looked like whitewater rapids on Clifton Avenue.
Elsewhere Harrison Township, nearly a hundred properties were damaged with more than two dozen considered a potential loss, according to Mayor Lou Manzo, who said that a farm lost its silo.
The mayor said at least one person was hospitalized.
At 6:22 p.m., radar confirmed a tornado over the Mullica Hill section. Several people captured photos of the menacing funnel cloud.
Several hours after the Mullica Hill tornado, the storm knocked down the roof of the Postal Service building in Kearny. At least seven people were injured but all employees were accounted for, according to reports from the scene.
Across the state, countless drivers were stranded in their vehicles when flash floods consumed interstates and local roadways in Central and North Jersey. In some places, the flooding was so deep that cars floated down the street.
The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly issued an urgent plea on Twitter late Wednesday night asking people not to attempt to drive through standing water because of reports that "crews are running out of resources to rescue people stuck in flood waters."
Reports from across New Jersey
Cranford: Mayor Kathleen Prunty said a shelter was opened at the Community Center for residents whose homes were flooded. Some of the roads leading to the shelter, however, also were flooded.
Because of the flooding, schools were closed for Thursday in East Amwell, Hunterdon Central Regional High School and Summit.
State government offices have also delayed opening of three hours.
Somerset County officials urged all residents to stay off the roads until flood waters recede.
Flooding blocked traffic on Route 78 in Bedminster and the New Jersey Turnpike near Exit 12.
NJ Transit on Wednesday suspended all rail service except for the Atlantic City Rail Line.
Hillsborough: Multiple cars and trucks were stuck in flood waters.
Somerville: Numerous cars stranded in impassible flooded streets, where 5.54 inches of rain fell in less than three hours.
Flemington: Cars were flooded on streets.
Sayreville: Multiple water rescues.
Union County: Numerous water rescues in several towns.
Livingston: A rescue boat was pulling people from cars trapped on Walnut Street, East Hobart Gap Road and Old Short Hills Road.
Kearny: Multiple roads were closed because of flooding, including Passaic Avenue, Harrison Avenue near Walmart and Route 7. Streets also were flooded in several Newark and Jersey City neighborhoods. In South Street in Newark, a person had to be rescued from the roof of a car.
Ho-Ho-Kus: People were being rescued from stranded cars on Route 17
Wyckoff: Multiple water rescues on Route 208.
More than 80,000 addresses had lost power late Wednesday night but power was being quickly restored.
The state's utilities urged customers to report all power outages and fallen
Officials also asked people to avoid all fallen power lines and to assume they are live.
Drivers should also steer clear of roadways that are under water because of the potential for downed power lines that are not visible.
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