New Jersey Floodwaters Crest, 2,000 Homes Evacuated

Major flooding continued along the Passaic River in northern New Jersey on Sunday after the river crested at Little Falls nearly 5 feet above flood stage late on Saturday, meteorologists said.

Firefighters make their way onto Totowa Avenue to evacuate residents that need assistance in Paterson, N.J.About 2,000 homes have been evacuated as recent rains and snowmelt pushed swollen rivers above flood stage. Some residents were taken to temporary shelters and power remained out to flooded areas on Sunday, said Mary Goepfert, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.

State, county and federal emergency management officials flew over the flooded areas to assess the damage Sunday. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie convened a conference call with senior state officials to discuss the flooding, Goepfert said.

"We are going to be going out with FEMA and at some point assessing damage and that is going to be conditional on when we can traverse the area," Goepfert said.

A Red Cross shelter remained open in Paterson, New Jersey, and the Red Cross was distributing cots, towels and other materials to other local shelters as well, she said.

"At this point we are transitioning out of response into recovery, trying to get people home who can go home and trying to start that damage assessment process," Goepfert said.

It is expected take several days for the Passaic River to fall below flood stage and flood warnings remain in effect in northern parts of the state, said Kristin Kline, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Mount Holly, New Jersey.
With the sold sign still in the flooded front yard, Al Eggeneberger stands on the front porch of the house purchased just 12 days ago by his cousin Frank DePinto as a pump pulls water from the basement this afternoon on Riveredge Dr. in Fairfield.The crest at Little Falls reached 11.8 feet, the fifth highest on record, just below crests in 2010 and 2007 that ranked the third and fourth highest. The Passaic River crested at 3 feet above flood stage in Pine Brook late on Saturday.

Smaller rivers and streams in the region are experiencing minor flooding, but cities and towns along the waterways will have a chance to dry off in the coming days, Kline said.

After passing underneath the closed Saw Mill Parkway, Colette Storti, of Tarrytown, N.Y., wades through flood waters along Route 119 on her way to work Friday in Elmsford, N.Y.Sunny skies and dry weather are forecast through Tuesday, with a chance of scattered showers on the radar for Wednesday, Kline said.

"It isn't going to cause any real problems this time around," she said of the expected precipitation.

Across southern New England, widespread minor flooding remains a problem but the most severe flooding along the Housatonic River in Connecticut has subsided, officials said.

Flooding caused by ice jams in the rivers in northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire remains a problem this time of year, said Ron Horwood, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Northeast River Forecast Center.

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