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Despite Warnings, Sandy Brings Out Hudson County Onlookers

10-29-12

By David Cruz
NJ Today

With Sandy still making its way to the Garden State, the Pompton and Passaic Rivers were actually below their high water marks, literally calm before the storm. However, Paterson Mayor Jeffery Jones, whose city was ravaged by Irene last year, wasn’t taking any chances. He detailed the potential hazards.

“Anything that’s a high building, anything that’s on a ridge, anything that’s half developed, all those become issues, and that’s just the wind side,” said Jones. “If the wind starts to topple trees and take down power lines, that’s another set of circumstances. And then if we get torrential rains and we see some flooding someplace, then we go into flood recovery mode.”

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As we moved east, just outside of Secaucus, in Hudson County, the Hackensack River was starting to swell, spilling into nearby industrial areas.

Just after midday in Hoboken and while the wind has been a problem, the rain is starting to pick up. The Hudson River has swollen and it looks pretty angry. It’s already breached a wall here and flooded Lackawanna Plaza. Officials in the city say that this, is just the beginning.

We saw some ships on the water that seemed to be having a rough time, even as some ferry service continued.

Police were having a tough time keeping the curious away from the river’s edge. In a town that likes to party, Sandy presented as good a reason as any.

Cameron Waters, who is visiting his brother Hoboken, said that Sandy threw a wrench into his plans.

“We’re here for the week, so we lost a day’s worth of sight-seeing over there [in Manahttan], which is a bit disappointing but it can’t be helped,” he said.

Morristown resident Erin Wesley was barely holding on against the elements.

“We came here to look at the boats and we didn’t realize it was going to be this bad,” said Wesley.

Next door, in Downtown Jersey City, the river was pounding the seawall and whipping up the steady rain into sheets. Fun for some, but, across town, Mayor Jerramiah Healy wasn’t laughing who was issuing a strong message to weather watchers.

“If you didn’t get out by 7:00 am this morning, please, at your own peril, start the movement very soon because there’s going to come a point later on today when no one is going to be able to get out of those low-lying areas,” he warned. “Our emergency people are not going to be able to get down there and help them. Use your head.”

The mayor ordered all non-emergency personnel off the roads, and set a curfew in the city’s low-lying areas, beginning at 6 pm tonight, until tomorrow afternoon. The worst is yet to come. The real flooding should occur overnight and into tomorrow, and possibly continue over the next couple of days. As ugly as it’s been, officials say, you actually ain’t seen nothing yet.

Watch the full story on NJ Today’s special report at 6 pm tonight.