ELSA'S AFTERMATH: Hackensack gets hit hard by flooding
Hackensack was hit hard by flooding that stemmed from Tropical Storm Elsa's torrential downpours.
High water took most of the day to recede on Newman Street. Residents say the roadway floods often and they are used to it. However, other parts of the city saw flooding for the first time ever.
Even before Elsa hit Hackensack, nearly 4 inches of rain fell in about an hour and a half. The drain system couldn't keep up, leaving the water with nowhere to go, even on streets that have never flooded before.
"A lot of people were caught off guard because the amount of rain that fell. The systems couldn't keep up, and it wasn't just Hackensack. We had calls from Maywood and Teaneck to see if we could assist them because they had vehicles stuck in water they've never had before," said Hackensack Fire Department Capt. Justin Derevyanik.
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The fast-rising floods trapped people in their cars across the city. The fire department had to pull out its high-water rescue vehicle to help multiple people during the heavy rains, including a man who was sitting on the roof of his car under 4 feet of water.
The department also rescued a family with three kids who were stuck in water that was too high to drive through.
"Yesterday's rain was incredible. We had to use the vehicle behind us to rescue about 30 people from stranded vehicles throughout the city," Derevyanik said.
Derevyanik urged drivers to heed the warning of "turn around, don't drown."
"One of the messages we were putting out yesterday people weren't listening to. Park your car, go get a cup of coffee and wait for rain to stop and water go down so you can find way home safely," Derevyanik said.
The city is working on mitigation projects to restructure the sewer systems. Engineers were out before the storm with the sewer department to clean out catch basin and to work on mitigation ideas for future storms.
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