WARREN, NJ- At 9:25 p.m. on April 30, the National Weather Service issued a statement regarding the current storm. Somerset County remains under a Flood Warning.
A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring. This warning signifies a longer duration and more gradual flooding of counties, communities, streams, or urban areas. Floods usually begin after 6 hours of excessive rainfall.
Some closures have occurred:
Flooding on US-22 westbound between Glenside Ave.(Scotch Plains ) and CR 655/Bonnie Burn Rd./Park Ave. (Scotch Plains ) All lanes are closed and detoured. Use caution.
Flooding on US-22 westbound area of Rock Ave.(North Plainfield) All lanes are closed and detoured.Use caution.
Flooding on I-78 eastbound ramp to Exit 43 - CR 655/Diamond Hill Rd. (Berkeley Heights ) The ramp is closed. Use caution.
Flooding on US-22 eastbound area of Chimney Rock Rd. (Bridgewater Twp) The right lane is closed.
Flooding on I-287 southbound ramp to eastbound Exit 14 - US-22 (Bridgewater Twp) The ramp is closed and detoured.
Additionally, a Flood Warning continues for the Passaic River at Chatham and Millington affecting Morris and Somerset counties.
In Chatham at 9:15 p.m.Wednesday the stage was 6.5 feet. Flood stage is 6.0 feet. Minor flooding is occurring and minor flooding is forecast. Forecast: The river will continue rising to near 6.7 feet by Friday morning then begin falling. Impact: At 6.5 feet, the central and Bridge Avenue bridges in Chatham Township are subject to closures. Edgewood Road is closed.
In Millington, at 8:30 p.m.Wednesday the stage was 7.1 feet. Flood stage is 8.0 feet.Minor flooding is forecast.Forecast: rise above flood stage by early tomorrow and continue to rise to near 8.6 feet by early Friday morning.Impact: At 8.5 feet, commercial properties along Valley Road in Long Hill Township begin to flood.
Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
If you must prepare to evacuate:
Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
If you need to drive :
· Slow down and increase following distances. Speed limits are set for ideal road conditions. When it rains, visibility is reduced and braking distances increase. On dry pavement, a safe following distance permits two to three seconds for stopping; that should be increased to eight seconds on slippery roads. Train your eyes farther down the road than normal, so you can anticipate changes and adjust your course gradually.
· Do not attempt to drive through standing water on the roads that look too deep. Try to avoid bridges and roads that are known to flood. Cross them only if there is little standing or streaming water. When driving on pothole-filled roads, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control. Just a few inches of water can turn your vehicle into a boat, and could put your life, and the lives of those around you, at great risk. Turn around; find another way to get to your destination.
· Watch out for hydroplaning. No car is immune from hydroplaning on wet surfaces, including four-wheel drive vehicles. Just because brakes work under normal conditions doesn't mean they will react the same on slippery roads where tires roll with far less traction.
· Alert drivers behind you that you're slowing with your brake lights. Without anti-lock brakes, squeeze the brakes until they are about to lock up and then release. With anti-lock brakes, use the same move – but don't pump the brakes, which would work against the operation of the ABS system. Slow down as you approach a pothole. However, do not brake when your vehicle is directly over a pothole.
· Use the central lanes. When driving during heavy rain, use center lanes of the road. Avoid outside lanes where the water collects at curbside.
·Use low-beam headlights to help other drivers see your car and increase visibility. Remember New Jersey law requires lights to be on whenever the windshield wipers are on.
· Use your defroster with your air conditioning to keep the air dry and prevent windows from fogging.
· Do not drive around barricades. Many lives have been lost when drivers disregard official orders and find themselves trapped in rising waters.
· Turn off the cruise control in wet weather driving. The use of cruise control on wet roads can cause hydroplaning.
· If conditions worsen to the point where there is any doubt about your safety, take the nearest exit. Don't just stop on the shoulder or under a bridge where you may feel less anxiety. If your visibility is compromised, other drivers may be struggling too.
· Fumes and oil leaks that build up on dry pavement rise to the surface of the road when it rains, making the road far slicker than it may seem.