In Morris County, a woman waited for rescuers on the roof of her car as an overflowing creek in Flanders breached its banks.
In Warren County, the floodwaters gushed so suddenly they ripped up the asphalt along Schooley’s Mountain Road in Washington Township.
In Sussex County, Sparta High School students learned a new term — flood day — when they were dismissed early because of inundated roads.
Across western and central New Jersey today, already water-weary communities faced a new round of flooding. Just a month after Hurricane Irene drowned parts of the state, overnight rainfall caused waterways to swell and overtake their banks. Residents once again faced road closures, detours and water rescues.
The dangerous conditions are expected to continue tomorrow. This evening, the National Weather Service issued flash flood watches for Morris, Somerset and Hunterdon counties through tomorrow afternoon.
Flanders resident Bill Gaffney said a flash flood inundated his Bartley Road neighborhood.
"I’m 6-feet tall and it was to my neck when it was receding," Gaffney said. "This all happened within 15 minutes. A wall of water came crashing down on Bartley."
Meteorologists said the heavy rains pummeling New Jersey could bring a second successive month of record precipitation.
The totals are nothing short of epic, said David Robinson, the state climatologist. The average statewide rainfall — about 22 inches since August 1 — appears to be a once-in-a-millennium epochal event.
"What we have recorded recently is so far off the charts that statistically it looks like it’s something that occurs every 1,000 years," Robinson said of the rainfall totals for August and September.
New Jersey’s precipitation is usually evenly distributed over all 12 months, Robinson said. This year, the state has received the equivalent of two-thirds of its annual rainfall in the last two months alone.
Vehicles swept away in floodwaters along Bartley Road in Flanders Heavy rain that hit the western and northern part of the state this morning turned streams and roads into raging rivers flooding residents homes and local businesses. One area hit hard was along Bartley Road in Flanders were over a dozen vehicles owned by employees of Earth Turf and Bloom Landscaping and Andrew E. Hall & Son Plumbing and Heating, could only watch as their vehicles were swept away by the raging floodwaters. (Video by Robert Sciarrino / The Star-Ledger) Watch video
At this rate, New Jersey will likely break the state record of 59.98 inches of precipitation, set in 1996, Robinson said. So far, rainfall statewide has averaged about 51 inches.
And more wet weather is on the way.
Kristin Kline, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, said moisture hovering over the region could bring another 1 to 2 inches of rainfall in northwest New Jersey by the end of Thursday. Scattered thunderstorms could increase those amounts in some areas.
A low-pressure system over the Great Lakes has helped keep New Jersey in a "persistent water pattern," Kline said.
"It’s kept a level of moisture over the area and given us a batch of rainfall day after day," Kline said.
Dry weather should arrive this weekend when high pressure moves into the region with partly- to mostly-sunny skies. Temperatures will cool considerably, with highs over the weekend and into early next week topping off in the high 50s to low 60s, according to the forecast.
Early predictions calls for a typical October — traditionally one of the drier months of the year in New Jersey.
"If that holds true that would give us a break," Kline said. "That would be wonderful news for folks trying to rebuild after the floods."
Gaffney, the Flanders resident, said today's flood conditions were worse than what his neighborhood experienced during Hurricane Irene and its aftermath.
Heavy rainfall once again causing flood conditions in areas of New Jersey Early morning thunderstorms brought heavy rain and flooding to areas of Hunterdon and Morris Counties. The swollen South Branch of the Raritan River overflowed its banks, stranding vehicles, closing roads and jeopardizing many homes in low lying areas. According to the National Weather Service, showers are forecast for tonight and Thursday that could produce even more heavy rainfall. (Video by Andre Malok / The Star-Ledger) Watch video
Although the living space in his 3-bedroom Colonial-style house — built in 1896 — was spared, the basement took on 5 feet of water and the front and back yards were decimated, he said.
Gaffney said the floodwaters receded quickly and left a wake of damage. The dozen or so vehicles parked in his Flanders neighborhood floated around like Matchbox cars as the water rose.
"It was pretty impressive," Gaffney said. "Mother Nature: You can’t do anything with her."
I miss the thunderstorms from the north east but not much else in terms of the weather. my friends in PA have been getting hammered, not much money being made for those that labor outside this past summer.
William F. Buckley describes a conservative as, "someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop." - and then proceeds to drag civilization back to times best left in history's dungheap.