Irene: More Than 2K JCP&L Residents Without Power
What are you seeing in your neighborhood?
Jersey Central Power and Light is reporting more than 2,000 Warren customers are without power, and many others are finding trees toppled by Hurricane Irene.
"Our biggest problems are power outages caused by trees falling into wires," Warren Police Lt. Robert Glen said. "We are having a tough time getting the power companies to respond as they are overwhelmed in other areas. We had some flooding issues but most of that subsided shortly after the rain was done this morning."
Township emergency management officials hurried to prepare the Watchung Hills Regional High School for use as an emergency shelter for residents evacuated from nearby towns this morning. Reports also indicate the shelter at Stonecrest Community Church has been closed.
Some areas in Warren flooded, including sections of town in the Dead River Road area. Sections of Green Brook, Long Valley and Basking Ridge are reporting flooding.
Many area roadways are closed or nearly impassable due to flooding, including sections of Interstate 78, Route 22 in Green Brook and Morning Glory Road.
Somerset County officials are reminding residents the danger of flooding continues, too, even as the storm leaves the area.
“Our top priority is the safety of our residents,” said Freeholder Director Robert Zaborowski. “I can’t emphasize enough the importance for residents to stay off the roads unless it is absolutely necessary to leave home. The potential for injury from falling trees and flooded roads is very high,” he said.
“At some point the rain will stop and you may be tempted to go about your normal routine, please don’t!" he added. "The potential for injury and problems will continue throughout the day.”
Bernards Township Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Sgt. Mike Shimsky said Sunday morning that flood-prone Newell Drive at the Mount Airy Road intersection had been closed since about 5:30 a.m.
That spot and others remained closed due to road flooding as of shortly before 9 a.m., Shimsky said at that time. "That's not going to be open until the rain stops," he said.
Hurricane downgraded to tropical storm
Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm for this area as of Sunday, but the last of the rain had not passed. As of 10 a.m., the National Weather Service still was predicting periods of rain through 4 p.m.
Also closed on Sunday morning, Valley Road between Liberty Corner and leading to Martinsville, Shimsky said.
Lyons Road between Goltra and Mount Airy Roads also remained closed, Shimsky said.
Part of Lake Road was earlier impassable, but may have been later opened, Shimsky said.
Meanwhile, state police at Somerville were advising motorists to stay off interstates at about 8 a.m. Sunday, saying that both interstates 78 and 287 had multiple points of flooding and trees down, including near the I-287 and 78 interchange in Bedminster.
A foot of water was stretched across I-78 at milepost 31, just two miles west of the highway's exit 33 leading into Bernards Township and Warren Township.
A tree also was down at milepost 29.1 on that highway, a trooper said.
Flooding made exiting onto local roads difficult along both highways, he said.
State police are asking drivers to stay off the interstate highways, he emphasized at about 8:05 a.m.
Meanwhile, reports are that the Jersey Shore was pummeled harder, with many residents evacuated and many power outages reported in Ocean County.
The Jersey Shore started to feel the heavy impact of Hurricane Irene Saturday night and Sunday morning as strong wind gusts and driving rains became more frequent, causing slick roads, poor visibility and plenty of reasons to find shelter, according to a report from shore-based Patch sites.