Bergen County sustained tens of millions of dollars in flood damage that will be covered by federal disaster funds, CLIFFVIEW PILOT is reporting.
“We’re ahead of this. The worst is over,” County Emergency Management Coordinator Dwane Razzetti reassured a countywide conference call of local officials anxious about more Passaic River flooding.
Executive Kathleen Donovan also corrected “pure sensationalism” media reports. One was that Wallington was being evacuated. “That is absolutely not true,” an angry Donovan said.
Also untrue are rumors of problems at Bergen Community College, which is packed to capacity with evacuees. Razzetti said the rumors have somehow “made it all the way to Trenton” but are completely unfounded.
“We have plenty of security there,” he said. That includes county police dispatched by Public Safety Director Brian Higgins.
As for any more flooding from the Passaic or other rivers: Although parts of Passaic and Essex counties have been hit hard, Razzetti said he was positive there was no cause for any concern about additional flooding in Bergen County. The federal government’s official readings supported him (SEE CHART, LEFT).
That said, county and local officials were prepared to pursue evacuations or other voluntary measures as a precaution, Razzetti said during the conference call, attended by CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
“The Passaic River is not going to be going up any farther,” he emphasized around 5:15 Tuesday afternoon. “It will continue to recede. The only thing that will happen when the tide rises is that the rate of receding will slow down. We are certain it will not continue to flood.”
As reported by CLIFFVIEW PILOT nearly an hour before the session, the Passaic River crested earlier than the National Weather Service had forecast, exceeding 14 feet, in the afternoon rather than at 9 p.m., as officials first feared.
The total is the second-highest ever in the river’s recorded history, following the 17.5-foot flood on Oct. 10, 1903. Now it’s a matter of it slowly inching to below flood stage — 7 feet — most likely by the end of the week, the weekend the latest, forecasts show.
“The tide’s going to be coming up, but the only thing it will do is slow the receding of the [river],” Razzetti repeated. “We are not going to see the flooding on the Saddle River that we’ve seen.”
However, he said, county officials are keeping search and rescue teams in place “through a tidal cycle or two” to be absolutely sure. Then it’s time to move forward, he said.
“We’re ahead of it now,” he said. “Instead of looking ahead in hours, we have to think in terms of days.” READ MORE….