CENTRAL JERSEY: Rain, rain go away . . . and take your floodwaters with you (Updated)


Massive rains flooded the Princeton Junction Train Station.

By Lea Kahn and Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writers
It rained, it rained and it rained some more over the weekend, closing down roadways and stranding motorists who tried to drive through flooded streets in Packet area towns.
It began raining Saturday morning, and by late afternoon, it had resulted in localized flooding and hazardous conditions in Princeton, according to the Princeton Police Department. Motorists who tried to drive through standing water were stranded, as the storm brought anywhere from six to eight inches of water.
Municipal emergency management director Bob Gregory said Monday that a number of roads were flooded and had to be closed.
Quaker Road and portions of Hamilton Avenue, Nassau Street, Dodds Lane, Sycamore Road, South Harrison Street and Alexander Road were impassable because of high water levels in the roadway, the Princeton Police Department said in an alert issued shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday.
River Road, also known as County Route 605, was closed because of flooding between Princeton-Kingston Road and the Montgomery Township border Saturday afternoon, the Princeton Police Department said in an alert issued around 8 p.m. River Road and Quaker Road were reported to be re-opened Sunday morning.
A fire on Edgehill Street displaced a woman living in a cottage, with water believed to have gotten into the electrical system, according to Mr. Gregory. He said she has found a place to stay. He said several homes in town were flooded, with one case involving an evacuation of six to seven people residing in the area of Roeper Lane.
Princeton University on Monday reported no major damage from the storm, although there were buildings across campus that suffered water damage to walls, carpets and ceilings.
Mr. Gregory said two public buildings — Princeton High School and the Princeton Public Library — were impacted.
Superintendent of Schools Stephen C. Cochrane said the boiler room and the orchestra pit in the high school were flooded.
“Members of our buildings and grounds crew were in (Saturday) during the storm and in the aftermath,” he said in a statement issued Sunday. “Working with a restoration company funded through our insurance company, they were able to pump out most of the water and begin cleaning up. We are still in the process of assessing any damage to equipment.”
He said the storm system “in the road outside the high school was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of rain that fell in a relatively short time on Saturday — five inches in under three hours.”
“We will be consulting with the town to find a solution that will mitigate this issue in the future,” he said. “I am told that some corrections to the area were made last time this problem occurred.”
As for the library, spokesman Tim Quinn said by email Monday: “We did have water enter the building from Hinds Plaza into the community room and into both public entrances. Staff responded quickly and the damage was contained to the front lobby and community room.”
“There was some damage to carpeting in the community room, but it has dried out.”
In Montgomery Township, the Police Department reported that County Road 601 — an extension of Elm Road and The Great Road in Princeton — was flooded out briefly between East Mountain Road and Dutchtown-Harlingen Road Sunday afternoon.
Across Route 1 in West Windsor Township, portions of Washington Road, Alexander Road and Princeton-Highstown Road — also known as County Route 571 — were flooded and not passable, the West Windsor Township Police Department announced in an alert issued around 4 p.m. Saturday.
Two hours later around 6:30 p.m., a state of emergency was declared in West Windsor Township, according to the West Windsor Township Police Department. Dozens of disabled cars were reported throughout the township, and first responders were called out to rescue the occupants. The state of emergency, however, was lifted about an hour later.
The Princeton Junction Train Station was flooded, according to the West Windsor Volunteer Fire Station No. 1’s Facebook page. The volunteer fire company reported handling 18 calls in a 10-hour span, ranging from water rescues — stranded motorists — to other hazardous situations and water leaks.
But by Sunday morning, all of the streets in West Windsor Township were re-opened, although the Police Department cautioned that flash flooding could occur if it rained again in the afternoon.
And in Lawrence, the Police Department reported flooding on Franklin Corner Road between Route 1 and Princeton Pike. Also, portions of Princeton Pike — between Stonicker Drive and Province Line Road — were reported to be flooded.