South Jersey Still Recovering from Severe Storms

By Michael Hill

There was no leaving the light on at Motel 6 in East Greenwich. The same where a crew worked to remove downed trees that chased Elizabeth Fanslau in the house on Tuesday.

“All of a sudden I saw this rush of wind and I shut the door and ran into a closet and then I heard glass breaking and then I ran to the basement. And then it was just boom, boom, boom,” she said.

Their car became unexpected cover for Gary Shickora and his two children whom he had just picked up from school.

“And my phone went off. It was a weather alert. Looked up, the sky was black. It lifted up these trees behind us and landed on my car. It was pretty terrifying,” Shickora said.

Tuesday’s storm knocked the Atlantic City Rail Line out of service to and from Philadelphia and left commuters to double the trip time by bus.

The strong winds split trees, toppled and crushed a chimney and left widespread damage and destruction.

“I’m glad I don’t live here. Bad. Bad. It’s bad,” said carpenter Mark Williams.

Platt’s Farm Market’s running on a generator but a blocked road blocked business.

“Very little. Very little. Trickle in trickle out. Roads are still closed right,” said Platt’s Farm Market owner Chuck Platt.

South Jersey lawmakers and others have requested the governor declare a disaster area.

“If it’s necessary. Now what’s happening is FEMA’s on the ground with OEM and the State Police and they are assessing the damage level. You don’t need a state of emergency declaration in order to get federal funds if you meet a certain threshold and if there’s anything a state of emergency declaration would do to enhance our ability to get more help more quickly I’d be happy to do it,” said Gov. Chris Christie.

All across Gloucester County, this is the familiar scene — downed lines and utility crews at work.

The summer storm whacked South Jersey with 280,000 power outages — 60,000 more than Sandy. Atlantic City Electric says with the help of out-of-state crews, most have been restored and full restoration could come tonight through midnight Sunday because extensive repairs needed.

The power company’s giving out ice and water.

Separately, a private wholesaler donated a load of water, batteries and flashlights.

“We heard how devastating it is and we wanted to help. We have warehouses full of this,” said R & R Wholesale President Sharon Filderman.

Some South Jerseyans cope by heading to a Red Cross help center where they can charge their phones, relax in the air conditioning and grab a Salvation Army burger or two.

The King family includes four children and Michael King seems more than ready for normalcy.

“It’s horrible. For people that can’t get out. For people who don’t have a vehicle that can’t get nowhere,” he said.

Weather investigators have determined it wasn’t a tornado but a macro-burst.

“It’s all in God’s hands. There’s a reason for everything that happens,” said Ernest Fanslau.

“So, you’re just happy you have a place to live and you weren’t injured,” Elizabeth Fanslau said.