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Passaic, Pompton River Flooding Still Poses Threat In NJ

FAIRFIELD, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Rising rivers flooded roadways in some of the same communities hit hard by Hurricane Irene as several hundred New Jersey residents remained in shelters Friday, waiting for waters from Tropical Storm Lee to recede.

Authorities said flooding continued along the Passaic River in Pine Brook and Little Falls and the Pompton River at Pompton Plains on Friday. The Delaware River remained high but was cresting.

By late Thursday, the relentless rain from Lee had left more than 9.5 inches in Phillipsburg in northwest New Jersey and more than 7 inches in many other areas.

Gov. Chris Christie said he would ask President Obama to include the damage from this week's floods in the disaster declaration he issued for the state after Irene.

For Tina Van Grouw, it means she will be nomadic at least a bit longer as the rising Passaic River threatened her home in Wayne again. She hasn't stayed there for 12 days because of the storms and floods.

"I went with friends for a week, then left there and went with another friend, then didn't want to be a bother there so I went to a hotel,'' she said.

"It's really sad for people who live down here," said another Wayne resident. "People who don't have money, don't have flood insurance. There's just so many people losing everything they have."

In Paterson, a shelter opened for people getting out of the way of the Passaic's rising waters more than a week ago remained open and a temporary home to dozens of people.

Upstream in Pompton Lakes, residents have grown weary of flooding that has hit some homes repeatedly during the past year.

"You see people with brooms and shovels cleaning up and it's not that they're like the walking dead, but there's just a look of exhaustion about them. I think at this point exhaustion is overriding people's ability to lash out,'' said Joe DeSando, an electrician who's been helping neighbors restore power after their cleanups.

In Fairfield, resident Mike Roth says they don't stand a chance with all the recent rain.

"We're just beginning to dry up a little bit and we understand it's coming back," he said. "The river is beginning to crest, not much lower than what it peaked out at the other day and that's definitely got everybody worried."

Charlie Schroll, 78, says he's lived through some bad floods, but this is the worst one.

"Much worse than any others," said Schroll. "This time it's a foot and a half in the house, in the living room, the whole lower floor. We just threw out all our furniture."

Alba Jenkins says she had to go to a hotel to escape the flooding.

"I know there are hundreds and hundreds of people with the same problem, but I'm one of those people," she said.

The new round of flooding also closed roads in at least eight counties, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Sussex, Passaic and Warren counties. State police said Route 94 in Vernon was blocked because of a road collapse.

Flooding from the Delaware River also closed Route 29 into the state capital and the Statehouse parking garage, which sits near the riverbank.

Lee Flooding NJ
The area's major north-south highway, Route 29, is flooded Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in Trenton, N.J., as the Delaware River continues to rise. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

A mudslide Thursday swept three homes off their foundations in Liberty Township in Warren County but State Police Capt. Frank Davis said no one was injured.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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