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Monday, March 15, 2010

UPDATE: Storm floods homes in Plainfield

Flooding along Netherwood Avenue (approximate).

Plainfield's flooding by the Green Brook crested about 2:00 AM Sunday morning, I was told by reader Liz D'Aversa, meaning my comment from Saturday afternoon's photo survey missed the mark somewhat (see here).

When I drove by the East End on Saturday afternoon, the brook had risen, but there was no indication it was going to overflow the way the D'Aversas reported it did on Netherwood Avenue.

Liz and Frank, Democratic city committee members for their First Ward neighborhood, live adjacent to the bridge over the Green Brook on Netherwood Avenue.

While they had mild water seepage into their basement ('I used a sponge mop to squeegee it into the sump hole', Liz said), other neighbors did not fare as well and several suffered flooded basements.

Liz reported one neighbor was told when they called the Fire Division that the Division no longer pumps out flooded basements. (I was told this had been past practice.)

Backed up by debris on the upstream side of the bridge, the Green Brook flooded across the D'Aversas front yard, down their driveway and up Netherwood Avenue about half way to East Front Street, according to Liz.

Although residents along the block have experience with the Brook and mostly moved their cars to higher ground, Liz reports that the use of orange traffic cones on the bridge, rather than sawhorse barricades, may have misled drivers about the seriousness of the flooding. At least nine cars which attempted to navigate their way southward on Netherwood Avenue from the North Plainfield side had to be towed when they stalled out in the deep water.

Public Safety Director Hellwig is quoted in today's Courier (see here) as saying that while there were reports of basement flooding and sanitary sewer backups, most flooding was contained to streets affected by the Cedar Brook and some parking lots.

He may not have been aware of the issues on Netherwood Avenue.

Meanwhile, the D'Aversas shed more light on the perpetual discussion of flood insurance (which they have).

According to Liz, the flood insurance policies only cover damage in the basements of the area homes. To keep their annual policy premium relatively reasonable, Liz and Frank took a higher deductible. It's a catch-22 situation, since the threshold means that almost anything except loss of the furnace and hot water heater plus structural damage would have to be covered out of pocket.

Hopefully, the Council will pick this matter up once more and see if the question of reducing flood insurance premiums citywide cannot be advanced.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I have a relative that works for the Fire Department and he said that the scrap yard on Second Street caught fire, East Front Street was like a river, and St. Mary's Street was a collection point for floating cars. I think that the news people should have contacted the Fire Department to get an accurate idea of storm damage.