Violent storms are expected to flood New Jersey in heavy rain on Thursday. The threat has led the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood clock for parts of the state.
There are some people in New Jersey who ignore a flood warning because it doesn’t seem as serious as a tornado warning. But after the devastating effects of Ida, that could change.
Tornado, hurricane, and snow warnings are often taken more seriously. Flash floods can come quickly, however, and many may not take proper precautions until it is too late.
“The whole street has been closed – Bloomfield Avenue and everything that ever floods. But we were lucky enough to avoid a large bullet, ”says Matt Saskowitz of Denville Dog and Grill.
Saskowitz says he knows how to protect his family business, which is across the Rockaway River in Denville. But not everyone takes these precautions. Morris County received hundreds of 911 calls during Ida.
“Busy, busy night for first responders. And honestly, there were a lot of people out there who shouldn’t have been during that time, ”said Jeff Paul, director of the Morris County Office of Emergency Management.
Paul says that Ida was an eye opener for many. There is already a push to train more first responders in water rescue.
“In this way, we as a region can serve a greater good,” says Paul.
Experts say it is urgently needed. More should be done to help people understand how dangerous flash floods can be. It happens quickly and most people don’t realize it until it’s too late.
“This was such an extraordinary event that it is impossible to predict such events until they unfold,” says state climatologist Dr. David Robinson.
Forecasters predicted more than six inches of rain during Ida. But it was the pace – 3-4 inches of rain an hour – that rocked the state. Still, there were guards and warnings before the storm.
“We will never know how many lives were saved by these warnings and emergencies, and undoubtedly many,” says Robinson.
But he says it’s still unacceptable that so many people have died – 30 in total. The death toll was higher than any other state.
Robinson says another thing Ida did differently was the widespread flooding across the state.