Tropical Storms Hit New Jersey
These photos, taken during Tropical Storm Lee on September 8, 2011, are from Dry Brook and Culver Brook in Branchville, NJ. Most years Dry Brook (2nd photo) dries up in August, but as you can see, 2011 was an obvious exception, as Dry Brook became a raging river. This is the most flooding the Branchville area has experienced since the legendary flood of '55.
A recent September 2011 NJ Herald report on Tropical Storm Lee read,
“BRANCHVILLE — A state of emergency caused by heavy flooding in the Sussex County municipality of Branchville could be lifted tonight, a county emergency management official said. The emergency declaration was declared at about 5 a.m., prompting the evacuation of 80-100 people who were taken by bus to the Frankford Elementary School on Route 206, where they were hosted by volunteers from the Citizens Emergency Response Team, said Capt. George Katley of the county Division of Emergency Management.
Electrical power was cut off for all of the borough's 840 residents. ‘We're in the process of lifting it now. Sheriff's officers are going house to house with the building inspector’ to determine if the houses are safe for habitation, he said. Both lanes of Route 15 in Lafayette near the Lafayette Pond were closed due to flooding and many local roads in Vernon closed due to flooding, said Katley. Floodwaters ran over several bridges in Stillwater and less than 500 residences were still without power as of 3 p.m. Kately said in some areas today's flooding was worse than the flooding experienced last week during Hurricane Irene. ‘The water came up quicker. Some of the rivers rose a lot quicker than Irene. Everything's still saturated,’ he said. Meanwhile, the county Department of Human Services announced that one-time food assistance will be available to eligible residents who experienced extreme losses due to Hurricane Irene or subsequent flooding. ‘This is an effective way to assist our residents in the short term so they can focus on other storm-related matters,’ said Administrator Stephen Gruchacz.”
Floodwater Damage & Coverage Options
Northwestern New Jersey witnessed flooding in areas not considered to be prone to flooding during late August and early September 2011. In the short period of two weeks, high water marks in local streams and ponds greatly exceeded the norm; however, residents who recall the flood of ’55 testify that flood waters were higher then.
According to the National Weather Service article concerning the flood of ’55, “On August 13-20, 1955, intense rainfall from two downgraded hurricanes caused flooding. Tropical Storm Connie passed to the west of New Jersey on August 13 and produced an average of 7 inches of rain on the Delaware River basin north of Trenton. This rainfall caused moderate flooding and saturated the soil. On August 19, the center of Tropical Storm Diane passed over central New Jersey in a northeasterly direction, less than 1 week after Tropical Storm Connie (Ludlum, 1983). Rainfall totals of 7-8 inches were reported. This intense rain on wet ground caused record flooding of the Delaware River and many of its tributaries as well as in the upper reaches of the Raritan River.
Flood discharge of the Delaware River at Trenton was the peak discharge of record and the largest since at least 1692. This flood also produced the peak discharge of record on Flat Brook near Flatbrookville. Damage from the flooding in NJ was $27.5 million” (Solomon Summer, National Weather Service, written commun., 1988)