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Northern Highlands Daily Voice serves Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Midland Park, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River & Waldwick

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Flood some more: reliving a North Jersey nightmare

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

CLIFFVIEW PILOT SCOOP: As floodwaters rose in the Pascack Valley, Hillsdale’s council agreed Tuesday to support property owners who qualify for a state program that buys their drenched homes. Meanwhile, f olks elsewhere braced for their unfair share this weekend. It could spell trouble for New Milford, and definitely looks like bad news for Little Falls.

“I just walked halfway down Harding and looks all clear…rain has eased for now…stays like this, should be good,” Westwood’s Kevin Ducey reported just before 11:30 tonight.

Trouble is: “Moderate to heavy” rain was expected to resume at 2 a.m.

The National Weather Service said it could continue pounding us for a good four hours.

By 11 o’clock, the Woodcliff Lake reservoir had passed 92 1/2 feet, less than 2 1/2 feet below flood stage — this after it had dropped all the way to 90.6 feet before dawn.

Below, in Hillsdale and Westwood, people hoped for the best as floodwaters crept again onto the streets of Harding Avenue beginning a little after 9 o’clock. The Kings Supermarket parking lot on Washington Avenue was flooded, as were several surrounding roads.

BULLETIN: A carbon monoxide leak from an overheated generator forced the Westwoo d Fire Department to evacuate and ventilate a building at the Roxbury condominium complex (r.) in the middle of Tuesday night’s rainstorm.

“So far OK but far from out of [the] woods,” Westwood resident Judi Salkin Stagg reported just after 11.

Westwood’s Karolina Marin, who keeps close watch on the reservoir’s water levels, smelled trouble, however:

“[I]f we judge by the discharge per second at the entry [Park Ridge side], and the discharge per second at Westwood, it seems that all water entering is leaving,” she reported just after 10:45.

That threatens more flooding, she said.

The only positive that folks in both towns could cling to (and it isn’t much): The Pascack Brook passed flood stage before 10 p.m. but still had a foot more to go before becoming a severe hazard.

“This is becoming our new normal, and is not right,” Marin wrote around 10:30. “I want to cry and I can’t. Just piled sand bags in my entry door from the garage. My backyard already full. Rain just stopped.”

Meanwhile, her counterparts in Hillsdale cheered their council’s decision to participate in New Jersey’s “Blue Acres” program, which buys out homeowners and turns the land over to the municipality for rehabilitation. Several of the attendees heard the flood warnings and rushed home from the meeting.

“We’re now submitting a motion to Westwood” to try and convince its council to follow suit, a member of the citizens action group Flood No More told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Parts of North Jersey got upwards of 4 inches of rain in 22 hours, with more expected beginning around 2 in the morning.

The Hackensack River in New Milford began a steady rise at 4 a.m. Tuesday from just under two feet to nearly four feet. Flood level is 6 feet — but Hurricane Irene showed how helpless the area is when rivers in New York and the reservoir in Oradell overflow.

Meanwhile, the Passaic River, after dropping before dawn to its lowest level since Irene came to town, rose quickly from 5 1/2 to 7 1/5 feet by 10 p.m. — and was expected to continue to swell by a foot every 24 hours.

The Pompton River in Pompton Plains also cleared its 13-foot flood stage by 10 and was expected to hit 17 1/2 feet before Thursday morning’s rush hour.

In Mahwah, the Ramapo River surged to 7 1/2 feet from just under 5 feet only 24 hours earlier. The Saddle River in Mahwah was several inches short of flood stage.

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