Utility outages continue to be a problem for South Brunswick on Sunday evening. South Brunswick Police and the township Office of Emergency Management made several requests to PSE&G for an estimate of how long it's expected to take for power to be restored to residents.
At this point, there are 392,000 PSE&G customers still without power across the state. As flooding continues to be an issue throughout New Jersey, the number of outages is continuing to rise.
PSE&G said it has 6,000 employees working around the clock on the restoration effort, with 840 PSE&G linemen, 270 out-of-state linemen, and an additional 50 crews joining in the effort from Ohio, as well as 540 tree contractors.
Customers are being told to prepare for the potential of lengthy outages lasting up to seven days. Outages caused by flooding are expected to take the longest to restore.
The heavy rain and storm surge may also cause gas outages, according to police. Water could potentially enter the PSE&G gas distribution system, and could also flood the basements and gas appliances of customers.
Residents are reminded to call PSE&G to report gas odors at 1-800-436-PSEG ext. 7734, and to call the South Brunswick Police non-emergency number at 732-329-4646 for directions and assistance in pumping water out of basements.
Gov. Chris Christie is urging residents to stay home from work Monday if possible, saying that most commuter train service will be suspended due to flooding and other damage from Hurricane Irene.
- TOWNSHIP OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED. Only essential personnel are to report to work.
- SOUTH BRUNSWICK SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED. Athletic practices and staff activities are cancelled
- SOUTH BRUNSWICK SENIOR CENTER CLOSED. No activities or staff
- SOUTH BRUNSWICK PUBLIC LIBRARY CLOSED
Flooded basements can pose a genuine safety risk. Customers should be cautious:
If they lose electricity and their basement is flooded, notify PSE&G (1-800-436-PSEG (7734) and call their municipality. Stay away from the breaker box if it's in a flooded basement. And don't go into a flooded basement if energized wires are present.
If water is rising to the height of any gas appliance, the gas supply to the appliance should be turned off. If customers are unable to do so, they should contact PSE&G or their local police or fire department for assistance. To restore gas service to appliances call PSE&G (1-800-436-7734) and have the appliances checked for safety and restored to proper operation.
Customers should call PSE&G (1-800-436-PSEG (7734) immediately if they smell gas.
Customers who use portable electric generators should carefully read and follow the manual that came with it. Be sure your generator is UL-approved, installed by a licensed electrician and inspected by your local electrical inspector. There must be a way to physically disconnect your generator from utility lines. Customers who improperly install, operate or maintain a generator are responsible for any injury or damage suffered by themselves, their neighbors or utility workers.
South Brunswick Police handled about 380 calls for assistance during the storm thus far after the havoc caused by Hurricane Irene, as emergency operations are still ongoing Sunday evening. There have been no reported injuries since the storm began.
“I appreciate all the efforts of the police, firefighters, EMS, and public works to get through this difficult time," said Chief Raymond Hayducka via release. "We have seen unprecedented flooding with this storm but your work has ensured the safety of our community. I want to also thank the residents, who listened to our warnings, for their cooperation and assistance."
The first strands of Hurricane Irene arrived at about 2:30 p.m. and brought approximately 8 inches of rain to South Brunswick thus far.
There are still ongoing flooding issues, hundreds of downed trees, and continuing power outages in the township. Employees of the South Brunswick Public Works Department have been working non-stop clearing hundreds of trees and branches that fell in the storm.
Trees have fallen throughout the storm causing road conditions to be unpredictable. Police urge motorists to use caution when traveling over the next 24 hours. Neighboring communities are also experiencing similar road problems.
There have been more than 50 homeowners who reported flooded basements, with South Brunswick fire companies assisting to shut off their utilities. Power has been restored to a large portion of homes, but problems still persist in portions of Kendall Park and Kingston.
Police are reporting that flooding has receded on many township roads, with the main flooding problem continuing on Route 1 just south of Raymond Road.
South Brunswick Status Update
- CLOSED - ROUTE 1 BETWEEN RIDGE ROAD /ROUTE 522 DUE TO FLOODING
- CLOSED - ROUTE 130 SOUTH OF DEANS RHODE HALL ROAD - FALLEN TREE
- CLOSED - NEW ROAD BETWEEN ROUTE 1 AND ROUTE 522
- CLOSED -SOUTH BRUNSWICK PUBLIC SCHOOL BUILDING - MONDAY
- CLOSED - SOUTH BRUNSWICK SENIOR CENTER - MONDAY
South Brunswick Police are reporting flooding in the township has left only one road, Major Road, leading from the east side of town to the west side of town passable. Many creeks and streams have flooded leaving a large number of roads impassable.
"The flooding in town has reached historic proportions," said police spokesman Sgt. Jim Ryan at 10 a.m. "Things are getting worse, not better."
Sgt. Ryan reported that half of South Brunswick is now without power, including everywhere south of New Road.
There have also been over a dozen cars submerged in water throughout the township. Sgt. Ryan said motorists must not attempt to drive on township roadways under any circumstances.
"We have motorists coming out with no purpose for being out right now, it doesn't matter if your front yard looks okay," he said. "Even driving a patrol car it's still treacherous. There is no reason for anyone to be out on the road right now."
Sgt. Ryan said there are significant flooding problems on Blackhorse Lane, Deans Lane, and New Road, in addition to Broadway Road east of New Road. Flooding is only expected to get worse as the day progresses.
South Brunswick Township Councilman John O'Sullivan reported downed trees on Kendall Road, Campbell Road, Joline Road, Dillon Road, New Road, and between Route 522 and Route 1.
"There's a tree that fell and took down four lengths of power lines between Route 522 and Route 1," he said. "I talked to the people who lived there, it's just lucky the tree fell away from their house."
O'Sullivan also praised residents for cleaning debris away from sewer drains to help with flooding issues.
He said there are several traffic lights out on Route 1 and Route 27, but he did not see any houses struck by falling trees.
Hurricane Irene is leaving a path of destruction through South Brunswick as the storm batters the area just before dawn. The Category 1 storm's onslaught is expected to continue throughout the day Sunday. There have been several road closures due to flooding, hundreds of downed trees, and downed power lines.
About one-fourth of the township is without power as of 7 a.m. Sunday.
Flooding has caused extensive problems throughout South Brunswick, with the worst yet to come as the Raritan River is expected to cause flooding on a catastrophic level through Sunday. New Brunswick hospitals are inaccessible at this time.
"The storm is having a major impact on South Brunswick right now and it will take several days to get everything back up," said police spokesman Sgt. Jim Ryan Sunday at 6 a.m. "Within the next six to eight hours we're going to have to confront river flooding issues."
The following roads are closed due to flooding:
- Route 1 between Ridge Road and 522
- Route 27 at Princeton border
- Route 130 at Cranbury border
- Deans Rhode Hall Road and Fresh Ponds Road intersection
- Stouts Lane near Route 522
- Raymond Road at Jefferson Plaza
- Deans Road between Georges Road and Blackhorse Lane
- Fresh Ponds Road and Davidson Mill Road intersection
- Parts of Docks Corner Road
- Numerous local streets including Deans Lane, Deans Rhode Hall Road, Fresh Ponds Road, Stouts Lane, and Mapleton Road
- Parts of Culver Road
Significant flooding has been reported at the following locations:
- Ridge Road and Academy Road
- Route 1 South and Route 522
- Route 535 and Ridge Road
- Route 1
- Route 27
- Blackhorse Lane
- Route 535
- Route 130
- Numerous side streets
The following areas are reporting power outages:
- ¼ of Township without power including large portion of Kendall Park
- Fresh Impressions Development in Monmouth Junction
- Five corners intersection in Dayton
- Entire length of Route 27 area
- Target mall on Route 1
- South Ridge Hills Development in Monmouth Junction
- Deerpark Center Nursing Home is on generator power
- 700 Woods Lane
There have been no injuries or evacuations reported, Sgt. Ryan said. There are numerous problems with downed power lines and downed trees reported on Stouts Lane and on New Road near Route 522.
"It's been really hectic so far," Sgt. Ryan said. "We've called in all of our manpower."
As bands of Hurricane Irene moved through the area overnight, some pockets of thunderstorms were believed to be powerful enough to create tornadoes.
A Tornado Watch and later localized Tornado Warnings were enacted Saturday night and expired at 5 a.m. Hurricane Irene is expected to continue its assault on the area Sunday morning.
As of 3 a.m., the center of the storm was located approximately 70 miles south of Atlantic City moving steadily up the New Jersey coast at 17 miles per hour.
Residents can expect damaging winds and heavy rains to continue today. Though the storm has weakened, a Hurricane Warning issued by the National Weather Service indicates that the storm is still packing 80 mile per hour winds.
In total, 6 to 10 inches of rain is expected with isolated rainfall totals of more than 14 inches possible.
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.
It was reported that over 250,000 PSE&G customers are without power throughout the state, between 5,000 to 10,000 without power in South Brunswick, and over 20,000 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.
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 is the first option as a township emergency shelter, with the at Woodlot Park and ready as backup shelters.
Residents are urged not to travel as Middlesex County has closed roads to non-essential personnel. Residents are also urged to remain cognisant of flooding issues, as the worst is yet to come on Sunday.
"We don't want anyone to look outside their door and say that it doesn't look bad, because it's bad," Sgt. Ryan said.