UPDATE: Thousands Without Power in South Brunswick; Extensive Flooding Expected
Middlesex County roads closed to all non-essential personnel
PSE&G said 2,000 to 5,000 customers are without power in South Brunswick as of 12 a.m. Sunday. It was reported that over 80,000 people are without power throughout the state, and over 8,000 are without power in Middlesex County. PSE&G said on Saturday evening that it could take one to three weeks for some areas of the state to have power restored.
The biggest impact from Irene is expected to be from extensive flooding. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Middlesex County through Sunday.
A flood watch from the township OEM is in effect for South Brunswick through Sunday night. The forecast is calling for "heavy and possibly record-setting rainfall" through Monday in New Jersey which could bring 6 to 10 inches, with higher amounts possible locally.
There is also a serious flood warning from the Raritan River through Sunday. Major flooding on a near catastrophic scale is possible according to the Middlesex County Office of Emergency Management. The river is predicted to rise above flood stage by tomorrow morning and will impact the South Brunswick area, according to the South Brunswick OEM.
The NWS issued a tornado watch for Middlesex County until 5 a.m. Sunday. A tornado warning was put into effect in nearby East Windsor at 11:25 p.m. though no touchdown was reported.
Sustained winds in the range of 45 to 65 mph are expected to begin Saturday evening, with gusts up to 80 mph possible.
Friday evening, the South Brunswick Office of Emergency Management requested residents in low lying and flood prone areas of the township to voluntarily relocate.
No township shelters were established on Saturday and weren't expected to be set up unless conditions worsened significantly.
In the event an evacuation becomes necessary due to flooding or loss of power, the South Brunswick Senior Center is the first option as a township emergency shelter, with the Community Center at Woodlot Park and South Brunswick High School ready as backup shelters.
Police are warning residents of the following areas to be cognizant of the tendency for flood conditions:
- Route 1 between Route 522 and Ridge Road
- Route 27 in the area of Stillwell Road
- Oakdale Mobile Home Park - Route 1
- Monmouth Mobile Home Park - Route 1
- Deans Lane
The area between Route 1 and Raymond Road, and Route 1 and Ridge Road, is also a primary concern in terms of flooding. A one-mile stretch of Route 1 near the Ridge Road intersection has also caused constant difficulties during storms.
Other areas of concern for flooding are Route 1 and Finnegans Lane and Route 1 and Blackhorse Lane near the Oakdale Mobile Home Park. On the east side of town, the Fresh Ponds Road area and parts of Cranbury-South River Road could also be a problem.
Additional officers have been recalled to duty by South Brunswick Police to assist with handling the storm.
The South Brunswick Fire Chiefs Association is also urging residents to take extra precautions during and after the storm, including not running generators indoors.
"We had two cases in the past where the carbon monoxide levels in the home ran dangerously high because of the generators," said Kendall Park Fire Chief Chris Perez via release.
Perez also reminded residents that the fire department can't assist in pumping out basements when flooding occurs.
"We will assist the residents in shutting off the utilities, but there are several hazards with using a fire truck to pump out a basement that prevents us from doing it," Perez said.
Patch will provide continuous updates on the impact of Hurricane Irene throughout the storm.
* South Brunswick Public Library - CLOSED SUNDAY
* South Brunswick Senior Center - CLOSE MONDAY