NEW MILFORD, NJ – Several homes were evacuated on Friday after rain caused the Hackensack River to crest and flood the New Milford, New Jersey area.
Twelve people were rescued after high water filled the streets. On Harvard Street it was about 2 to 3 feet high.
The police chief told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon that it was a voluntary evacuation and that while the flooding was severe, many people chose to wait inside their homes.
First responders went door to door in waist-deep water and used rowboats to rescue people from their partially submerged homes and vehicles near River Road.
“It’s terrible. I don’t know how they still haven’t fixed the problem,” said Leonardo Salas, owner of Stache House Barbershop. “It’s so embarrassing for everyone.”
Salas arrived to find his barbershop was barely unscathed, with floodwaters coming inches from his front door.
“I hope it’s not because it usually goes up and then comes down. I hope it’s the worst right now,” he said.
The police chief said the flooding happened after Oradell Reservoir spilled water into the Hackensack River, which then crested. Most of the flooding was contained to Columbia and Harvard streets near River Edge Avenue.
“We don’t really expect it to go any higher. Thank goodness it stopped raining,” New Milford Police Chief Brian Clancy said. “But we don’t really know when it’s going to drop yet. It kind of depends on the Oradell reservoir.”
The chief added that many streets had already been flooded and that the state was in the process of buying up houses in the area and demolishing them.
“Streets that are unfortunately often flooded, so many of these residents have experienced other floods in the past,” Clancy said. “It’s kind of sad and unfortunate.”
Salas said Friday’s flooding was nowhere near as severe as during Hurricane Ida, when his store was submerged. Still, it feels for everyone in the flood-prone area.
“Especially the owners, I feel bad for them, really more than anything. At least I come and go, I don’t live here,” he said. “I can’t imagine for them.”
The chief said homeowners who have chosen to stay inside their homes are not at risk. Meanwhile, he expects the water to recede a bit later in the day.
On Thursday night, the Passaic River also overflowed and flooded nearby streets.
CBS2 spoke with a restaurant owner who said there was 2 feet of water outside his business.
“We still have a lot in there, we can’t really leave,” he said. “We have an area that they can cross, if they want to cross 2 feet of water.”
Ramapo Police also released a photo of a car stuck in floodwaters on South Pascack and Grotke Roads.
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