Three more days of heavy rain brought to New York and New Jersey by remnants of Tropical Storm Lee have meant flash floods, closed roads and rivers across the state bursting out of their banks.
Communities along the Passaic River, cutting through hilly northern New Jersey, that were just beginning to dry out from floods caused by Hurricane Irene are flooding again. The river is expected to crest as a major flood early Saturday.
Rain, already coming in waves across the state since Tuesday, was expected to continue to fall in places into Friday. By Thursday afternoon, the relentless storm had brought more than 9.5 inches to Phillipsburg in northwest New Jersey and more than 7 inches to many areas.
For Tina Van Grouw, it means she will be nomadic at least a bit longer as the rising river threatens her home in Wayne again. She hasn't stayed there for 12 days because of the storms and floods.
"I went with friends for a week, then left there and went with another friend, then didn't want to be a bother there so I went to a hotel," she said.
In Paterson, the state's third-largest city, a shelter opened for people getting out of the way of the Passaic River's rising waters more than a week ago still had about 75 people in it — and more were expected with water rising again.
Upstream in Pompton Lakes, resident were growing weary of flooding that has hit some homes repeatedly over the past year.
"You see people with brooms and shovels cleaning up and it's not that they're like the walking dead, but there's just a look of exhaustion about them. I think at this point exhaustion is overriding people's ability to lash out," said Joe DeSando, an electrician who's been helping neighbors restore power after their cleanups.
The heavy rains also swelled the Delaware River on Thursday, forcing officials to evacuate some residents in Trenton and close off parking garage at the Statehouse as it started filling with water. Several roads leading in to Trenton were closed for flooding and the morning commute for state workers promised to tricky.
The Delaware caused only minor flooding after Irene. But Lambertville was slammed by flash flooding on Swan Creek. Some of the same basements hit by those floods were filling up again Thursday with river water. About 500 were evacuated in Lambertville and officials shut down the bridge connecting that town with New Hope, Pa.
"It's a trying time for people who were affected last weekend and now affected again," said Mayor David Del Vecchio. "It's more than people should have to deal with."
Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Christie has asked President Obama to expedite declaring the entire state a disaster area in order to ensure affected residents receive federal assistance as quickly as possible for damage resulting from Tropical Storm Lee. He said that given the impact of the storm, field damage assessments should not be required to determine the state's eligibility for supplemental federal assistance.
In Binghamton, N.Y., a city of about 45,000, waters began receding Friday, a day after record-breaking flooding chased about 20,000 people from their homes along the rain-swollen Susquehanna River, authorities said.
Broome County Deputy Emergency Manager Raymond Serowik told The Associated Press on Friday morning that the river was receding slowly and that authorities were just beginning to gain access to some areas to assess the damage from Thursday's flooding.
There was no indication when some of the evacuees, including about 10,000 city residents, would be able to go back home, he said.
"It's going to vary tremendously from place to place," Serowik said.
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