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Irene-Weary Residents In N.J. Communities Faced With More Flooding

CRANFORD, NJ (CBSNewYork) - Hurricane Irene stormed through New Jersey last Sunday, but her after-effects are still very much being felt.

A flood watch is in effect through Wednesday for northern New Jersey, the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County, Conn. Flood warnings were in effect for the entire northern part of New Jersey through the early morning hours of Wednesday.

Storm drains were already overflowing in parts of New Jersey on Tuesday night and drivers splashed down flooded streets, with some cars even getting stuck in the water. For people still coping with the cleanup, the prospect of more rain and flooding is simply too much to bear.


Main Street in Little Falls flooded over after hours of heavy rain. All of it came just a week after Carla Spratt and her husband had to throw out everything in their basement thanks to Hurricane Irene.

"Big TV, a lot of furniture, clothes. You know, a lot of stuff, all my personal stuff," she told CBS 2's Derricke Dennis.

The rushing water bubbled up through storm drains, overflowing from the swollen Passaic River. Some cars found streets passable. Others stalled in the middle of the road.

Little Falls Mayor Michael DeFrancisci said he has had it and called on the federal government to dredge the Passaic and fix the flooding once and for all.

"How much can people take? I spent four days down here with people going through their homes, looking at wrecked belongings, lives shattered, there's no words left. It's time for the federal government to step up and to do what needs to be done here," he said.


It's been a dirty, wet, depressing week for the Skibniewski family in Lincoln Park. They've spent days tearing out the damaged parts of their house and piling it out front.

This was the worst flood they'd lived through, but not the only flood. This wasn't the way 17-year-old Matthew pictured spending the last few days of his summer break.

"It only flooded a couple times like in the past years, but now it just keeps on getting worse and worse. We had four floods in the past six months," Matthew Skibniewski told CBS 2's Don Dahler.

Matthew's father, Jersey, has lived at their home for 21 years and is resigned to the news that more flooding may happen this week.

"What we can do? We can do nothing. You cannot change the weather," he said.


"Yesterday, they brought the Red Cross kits to us and I opened it up and I just started to cry," said Peggy Moffat, who had three feet of water in her home.

WCBS 880's Sean Adams In Cranford


The sewer line backed up. Nearly a week later, contaminated furniture and possessions fester on her front lawn. She said she is sick of bleach.

Brookside Place School Cranford
Brookside Place School - Cranford, NJ - Sep 6, 2011 (credit: Sean Adams / WCBS 880)

"People don't realize. They think the water is here and it's gone. That's not it. You're dealing with mold. You have to get the mold," she told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.

Across the street, the Brookside Place School could be closed for months. Desks, chairs and school supplies litter the lawn.


The dark, dreary day matched the mood in some Paterson neighborhoods along the Passaic River in Paterson.

"It's all moist. It's wet down there.  It's not getting no better, it's wetter," one woman told 1010 WINS' Al Jones.

James Robinson wondered out loud how much more rain will need to fall before he needs to pump out his basement again.

"That's what we're scared of because we don't know if it's going to happen or not," he said.

1010 WINS' Al Jones Reports From Paterson



The saturated carpeting, mattresses, furniture, TVs, and personal items are already lined up on the curbside in Fairfield.

"I just don't know what else can go wrong. Now I'm waiting for the flood to come in again and I got contractors coming in to work on this house," said Nick Citarella.

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell In Fairfield


Citarella had 5 feet of water in his house last week, not in the basement, but on the first floor.

"It's just a godforsaken mess. There's a smell all over the place. That's it. I don't know what to do," he told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell on Tuesday.

With the Passaic River threatening again, he's just numb.

"I don't want to be here anymore, but I'm stuck here," he said.

Citarella said this is supposed to be a 100-year flood zone, but this is his sixth flood in the past nine years.

Charlie Schroll is starting from scratch after last week's flooding and now he, too, is watching the Passaic River swell again.

"I'm gonna have to rip the walls out, rip out all the floors, all the carpeting, throw out all the furniture, which I didn't have insured," he said.

"So, how do you cope with this?" asked Haskell.

"That's what we're trying to do. We're not coping very well," he answered.

Schroll has been there for more than 40 years and said last week was the first time he had water up to his first floor.

How are you doing when it comes to getting back to normal after Irene? Share your story in the comments section below.

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