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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Flooding On Way

More flooding this week remained a possibility, as some rivers continued to rise.

In Ocean County, Toms River Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher said the north branch of the Toms River could crest Tuesday, causing more flooding. Route 571 near the river’s north branch at the Manchester-Toms River boundary was closed, according to Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who said rising waters have damaged a bridge and repairs need to be made. Stormwater runoff from Hurricane Irene has been causing the river to rise.

At least four people were killed.

Yet along the Jersey Shore, the sum of Irene’s parts failed to match the shock and awe of the December 1992 storm, which caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and left large swaths of the state’s coast almost unrecognizable. While no one was killed in that storm, 55 homes in Monmouth and Ocean counties were destroyed, and another 13,000 were damaged.

For all the dire predictions, Irene, fortunately, didn’t come close that level of destruction.

“I was waiting for the storm this morning; I didn't realize it was over already,” said Damien Davis of Belmar, who rode out the storm with his mother.

“I thought it was going to be worse,” said Robert Hunziker, 76, of Bay Head, who was able to keep ahead of the water seeping into his basement with a Shop-Vac.

As of Sunday evening, the lone death attributed to the hurricane was that of a 20-year-old Salem County woman, Celena Sylvestri, of Quinton, who was found in her car, submerged in water in the Salem County community of Pilesgrove.

During a news conference Sunday, Gov. Chris Christie said a Princeton emergency worker had died during a swift water rescue. But a spokeswoman later said he was given inaccurate information and the firefighter was alive and in critical condition. On Monday, the Times of Trenton reported the worker -- Princeton rescue squad member Michael Kenwood, 39 -- died Monday morning.

Kenwood was part of a rescue team responding to a submerged car near a Princeton Township park. The car turned out to be empty.

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