Officials Survey Damage After Storm Batters Jersey Shore

Photo courtesy Ocean County Scanner News

BRICK – More than 100 homes – 80 of those in the Greenbriar I community – were damaged by Monday’s torrential rains in Brick Township.

According to Dr. David A. Robinson, a climatologist with Rutgers University, 5.87 inches of rain pounded the township Monday morning. Neighboring Lakewood received 8.01 inches in just a few hours. Rainfalls were measured by volunteers through the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.

“No real rhyme or reason as to why one area (again very local) gets tremendous totals, while nearby spots receive much less. Storms just stall over an area for several hours, dumping these huge totals and then eventually move on or just dissipate in place,” Robinson said.

While there were road closures dotted around the northern section of Brick Township – including Burrsville Road, which finally reopened in all directions Tuesday afternoon – a road in the Ramtown section of Howell, Ramtown-Greenville Road at the bridge between Arnold Boulevard and Moses Milch Road, collapsed Monday. That road was being used as an alternate route during closures on Lakewood-Allenwood Road.

According to Sgt. Christian Antunez of the Howell Police Department, Lakewood-Allenwood Road has been re-opened between Vienna Road and Cascades Avenue, and Ramtown-Greenville Road between Moses Milch and Arnold Boulevard, will be out indefinitely.

Photo courtesy Ocean County Scanner News“Our crews have been assessing the storm damage since yesterday throughout the county to determine the safety of all roads and bridges impacted,” Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “In instances where flood waters receded, structures were inspected and/or repaired and were reopened as appropriate.”

Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in Ocean and Monmouth counties, along with several North Jersey counties hit by torrential rains and flooding this past weekend. A state of emergency allows for extended and expedited aid to hard-hit areas.

“There is no doubt that parts of our state have received nothing less than historic amounts of rain, and some communities received an entire month’s worth in just a few hours,” Murphy said. “I am signing an executive order declaring a state of emergency for Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Passaic counties. This will allow us to focus resources into the most impacted areas, as necessary. Our job as public officials, first and foremost, is to ensure that everyone is safe, especially since we may not be out of this weather pattern yet and more rain may still fall on already saturated ground.”

The governor said residents and businesses should “carefully document all property damages caused by floodwaters” and report that to their respective county Office of Emergency Management. Businesses affected by flooding can also account for revenues lost.

And, Murphy urged motorists to not attempt to cross flooded streets, and watch for not only downed power lines, but falling trees.

Ocean County has also stepped in to help with the flooding relief efforts in Brick.

“We have signed an emergency declaration which will help the area directly affected by the Aug. 13 storm,” Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said. “Ocean County is continuing to make every effort to assist Brick Township emergency response, law enforcement and emergency management as damage is assessed today.”

The county OEM was out Tuesday to help set up the temporary emergency shelter for Greenbriar residents.

The American Red Cross New Jersey Region has opened a shelter for Greenbriar residents at One Boulevard in the community.

Six Greenbriar residents stayed overnight in the shelter Monday night, said Diane Concannon of the Red Cross, Princeton. The shelter will be open again Tuesday night, and will likely close Wednesday at 3 p.m., although not before all residents have somewhere safe to stay.

Photo courtesy Howell Police

Red Cross teams were out providing food and water to those cleaning up after the storms, and out assessing damages. A full scope of their findings won’t be available for several days, if not longer.

Brick Police reported they are not allowing any residents to return to their home unaccompanied “for safety reasons.” Police have stepped up patrol in the area.

The township has reported that 105 homes – 80 in Greenbriar, and the others on Paramount, Primrose Lane and New York Avenue – were impacted by flooding. The 55+ active adult community was reportedly built between 1970-78 and has 1,951 residences.

“The homes are located on the western most section of Greenbriar 1 that backs up to Burrsville Road,” Brick Township Police Sgt. Neal Pedersen said. “It will take some time to assess the true extent of the damage but our building department is evaluating if residents can return to their homes.”

Most of the water had receded by Tuesday morning, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the officials from the 10th Congressional District have called for an investigation into the flooding.

“The flooding that occurred yesterday along Burrsville Road and in Greenbriar is unlike anything the area has previously experienced, including during Sandy,” Senator Jim Holzapfel (R-10th) said. “We’re concerned that the recent reconfiguration of Exit 91 has impacted the area to make it susceptible to flooding. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection needs to investigate and undertake improvements if that’s the case.”

Photo courtesy Todd Angelo Maggio

“It’s a little suspicious that Greenbriar can go five decades without this kind of flooding, including during Superstorm Sandy, but it’s suddenly under water a year after the adjacent Exit 91 project was completed,” said Assemblyman Dave Wolfe (R-10th). “We need to know if changes to the grading or drainage in the area led to this flooding, and we need a plan to prevent it from happening again.”

Brick Mayor John Ducey confirmed Greenbriar is not in a flood zone. While he hopes the state of emergency declared by the township, county and state will bring Federal Emergency Management Agency money with it, whether individual insurance companies cover losses and damages depends on the policy and insurance company homeowners use.

He said the flooding has been devastating to those residents in Greenbriar affected by the floods. Many of them have lived there for years, and even during hurricanes, have never experienced such flooding before.