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Floodwaters recede in New Jersey; cleanup begins


The rising Passaic River washed out bridges in Paterson, New Jersey Saturday
The rising Passaic River washed out bridges in Paterson, New Jersey Saturday

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

March 14, 2011 — Floodwaters began to recede along the Passaic and Raritan rivers in northern New Jersey Sunday, allowing people to return home and begin the process of cleaning up.

It could be another couple of days before some people are able to return home
It could be another couple of days before some people are able to return home

However, officials say it could be at least Tuesday before some people are able to return to the areas hardest-hit by weekend flooding.

A strong low that brought severe thunderstorms and spawned tornados in the southeastern United States earlier last week hit the northeast on Thursday, dumping between 50 to 70 mm of rain on parts of northern New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maine.

In Paterson, NJ, north of New York City, the Passaic River burst its banks and flooded much of the northern part of the city, forcing widespread evacuations.

Water spilled over several major roadways throughout the city, stranding motorists in high water.

The Passaic crested on Saturday evening, about 12 hours earlier than expected, but it will still take several days for the water to recede completely.

Floodwaters inundated homes and businesses throughout the U.S. northeast
Floodwaters inundated homes and businesses throughout the U.S. northeast

Parts of eastern Pennsylvania remained under a flood warning on Sunday as the Susquehanna River was poised to rise as much as eight feet over flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.

In Pine Grove, PA, northeast of Harrisburg, a 74-year-old man died when he drove around a road barrier and was swept into the rushing waters of Swatara Creek.

In Harrisburg, City Island, home to a number of athletic venues, was swamped and expected to remain closed through Monday.

The Red Cross has been on the ground in flood-affected areas distributing food, water and cleaning kits to evacuees.

Further east, icebreaking operations began on the Kennebec River in Maine over the weekend.

Flooding from ice jams can be a concern at this time of year as mild temperatures and spring rains contribute to the loosening of the ice cover on major waterways.

With files from the Associated Press and Disaster News Network

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