Three towns were flooded early Tuesday morning when a massive tidal surge sent water over a New Jersey levee.
Initial reports claimed that the New Jersey levee had broken during the hurricane but Governor Christie said that the report was inaccurate.
“It was not a dam or a levee, it was just a natural berm that was overwhelmed by the tidal surge, that was an unprecedented tidal surge.”
Reuters reports that the Hackensack River breached its levee around midnight last night and put Moonachie, Little Ferry, and Carlstadt underwater. No deaths have been reported but hundreds of people were left stranded on top of their houses after the flood.
“We’ve been involved since last night with urban search and rescue with the local folks in Moonachie and Little Ferry. We’ve saved hundreds already.”
Jeanne Baratta, chief of the Bergen County Executive, told Reuters:
“From start to finish this wall of water, in some places a wave much higher than five feet, hit this unprepared area. The full impact was felt in less than 30 minutes … There are probably more than 2,000 residents affected by this and a lot do not realize they cannot go back home tonight … They are wet and they are cold and they have lost their homes and their property. It is very sad.”
NBC reports that residents of Little Ferry reported that the water started gushing out of storm drains late on Monday night. In less than two hours the town was flooded with four feet of water.
President Obama declared New Jersey and New York disaster areas earlier today’s and offered local officials access to government funds. Christie, who has been a staunch critic of Obama, said:
“I was on the phone for the third time with the president yesterday. He called me at midnight last night because he had heard reports about how bad things were in New Jersey. He accelerated the major disaster declaration for New Jersey without the usual red tape. I can’t thank the president enough for that.”
Here’s a video of Chris Christie talking about the flooding in New Jersey.