Gov. Chris Christie has declared a State of Emergency for New Jersey, with the forecast calling for heavy rain — and the threat of floods — over the next few days. The order allows the governor to "mobilize and deploy" the National Guard to support emergency efforts, and authorizes agencies to undertake evacuations, if necessary.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for most of the state. The Rockaway River and parts of the Passaic River are under a flood warning, meaning their levels could rise above the flood stage.
"With the rainfall we expect in the next couple of days — with possibly up to two to four inches — we do expect flooding of the rivers that previously had flooding in the last storm to continue."
Rain is expected to begin Wednesday night, and taper off by Friday morning, with the heaviest rainfall late Thursday night.
New Jersey's office of Emergency Management is warning residents that severe flooding could lead to evacuations, property damage, and power outages, in an advisory posted on its website.
Spokeswoman Mary Geopfert said the state will activate its emergency operations center at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, and is already in communication with local and state departments.
With the heaviest rainfall expected overnight on Thursday, Goepfert said she's also reminding residents that they may be asked to evacuate their homes before they see any water on the ground.
"The reason for that is because the water can come swiftly and rapidly, and we don't want them to be in a situation where they are stuck in their homes, or if they're evacuating at night," she said.
In this emergency declaration, the governor said major flooding could occur on the Ramapo, Passaic, Delaware and Raritan rivers. Christie told WNYC in an interview earlier on Wednesday that the state is looking at a number of long-term solutions to address repeated flooding in some areas of the state.