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South Mountain Area Hit Hard by Irene

Flooding persists;'Things are horrific over on this side of town,' resident says.

With flashbacks to Hurricane Floyd, South Mountain neighorhood residents were cleaning up after the monster storm Irene sent water over the flood walls and almost forced an evacuation. Just when the township was set to call in the National Guard if a full-scale evacuation was deemed neccessary, the rain stopped.

Among the areas to receive the most damage, as of 3 p.m. much of South Mountain could be still be mistaken for a river.

The South Mountain neighborhood has experienced power outages, the live-wires, downed trees and water damage.

Millburn Township reported this morning that water had flowed over the retaining wall on Ridgewood Rd. which separates the southern branch of the Rahway River from the South Moutain community. The wall was constructed after to prevent another flood of that catastrophic magnitude.

Between the torrential downpour that caused overflowing of the Rahway over the retaining wall, the Taylor Park branch of the Rahway overflowing into the park and onto nearby Main Street, Millburn Avenue and Whittingham Terrace, the community flooded despite the precautions.

"South Mountain was hit pretty hard," said Mayor Sandy Haimoff, who toured the town today. "The wall held which was a good thing."

Because of the Rahway flooding, Locust Avenue and Ridgewood Road were closed and residents found their basements to be completely submerged in water, with some residents reporting water seeping into their first floors.

But perhaps the most visible devastation in the South Mountain area is on the southern stretch of Greenwood Drive. Greenwood backyards were completely flooded, with flood water  submerging cars, playground sets and even basketball hoops. Some homes have flooding all the way up to driveways and front yards.

"Every house on the south side of Greenwood is flooded - backyard water as high as the top of a basketball hoop - you would need a boat to get through." Sheryl Cohen, who lives on Greenwood, told Patch in a story comment. "Basement water half way up the steps. We are a mess here - I hope they are planning on doing something to help us. I thought they fixed this problem after Floyd.

"Things are horrific over on this side of town," she said.

One home needed to evacuate because of severe flooding, which required the fire department to come in with a rowboat.

Also, a downed tree on Undercliff Rd. has left many residents on that street without power. Oval Road, Greenwood Drive and Ridgewood Road were reported to still be without power as of 3:30 p.m.

"We're waiting for the electric companies to come in first because they have to come in first before anyone touches the trees," the mayor said. "We're working as quickly as we can. We have had all our manpower on duty throughout the night."

In addition, water is still flooding stretches of Haran Circle, Rahway Terrace and Ridgewood Road, lining South Mountain Elementary School. Manhole covers on these streets were overflowing this afternoon.

"We are in the process of cleaning up and correcting what's happening out there. That will continue until it's all done. The fortunate thing from, what I've been told, is we have no injuries. That's the most important thing, the safety of our residents."

Laura Griffin and Brian Falzarano contributed to this report.

If you have pictures, stories, breaking news or comments about the devastation in South Mountain, please feel free to add them.

Layni Rothbort August 29, 2011 at 01:02 AM
Still no power at 9:00 PM!
Andrew Clipper August 29, 2011 at 01:44 AM
There are several trees in the wyoming area that have fallen, one of them onto my house. No one from the fire, police or tree department has done anything to help and they don't seem to be planning to any time soon. Plus the water here has turned brown and there is not going to be power for days. There is no way to drive through the neighborhood because there are so many branches and wires. You should write an article about that. If you need pictures I have some of my house which has been a spectacle of the neighborhood.
Laura Griffin August 29, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Can you email me your contact information and where you live, Andrew? I would like very much to interview you!

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