At last night’s town council meeting, town representatives discussed the impact of the weekend’s storm. Mayor Teena Schwartz, Town Manager Joseph Martin, Town Engineer Jim Helb and council members concurred that the past weekend’s heavy rains and high winds constituted “the worst storm since Floyd,'” referring to Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which caused heavy local flooding. They put the cost of the the clean-up at about $100,000.
In addition, they noted that the storm was “far worse in its effect on public service” than the 2006 microburst, which took down many of Verona’s trees. The damage here this time mainly consisted of the loss of 21 “town” trees (those between the sidewalks and the street curbs), one of which caused damage to a car and another, minor damage to a house. According to Schwartz, that tally “pales in comparison with other towns” in Morris and Passaic counties, portions of which had to be evacuated. Verona resident Mike Guerin captured several photos of the flooding near Willowbrook Mall and the raging falls at Little Falls, which we have posted to MyVeronaNJ’s Facebook page.
Schwartz and other council members attributed our relative good fortune to Verona’s favorable topography, which is not completely low-lying, the fact that the Peckman River did not overrun its banks, and the redesigned bridge over the Peckman on Bloomfield Avenue near Verona Park, which allows for faster water flow underneath.
According to Helb, hundreds of municipalities in New Jersey had waste-water backups due to flooding this weekend, and Verona did have some minor sewage issues in some homes on Mount Prospect Avenue. Because of problems at the Passaic Valley pumping station, Verona was served completely by our own well water during the storm.
There was also a considerable amount of Verona Rescue Squad manpower devoted to the residents of the Claridge II apartments near Kings, since the storm left them without power. Though a generator powered individual apartments, the front desk was not served by the generator and was left in darkness. Members of the rescue squad spent hours conducting face-to-face checks to be assured of the safety of every resident, many of whom are elderly; some were taken to the hospital.
Council members want all residents to know that they are welcome to put storm-related branches and debris at the curb anytime, and they will be picked up as soon as the town cleanup is completed. Residents can call Helb’s office at 973-857-4804 to request a pickup or post problems to this area’s See-Click-Fix page and we will pass it along.
The 973-857-4804 number is also the one to call if you would like a sapling planted at the curb outside your home. Leave your request, along with your name and address, and the Shade Tree Commission will let you know when your new tree will be planted.