Storm Watch: Officials Hoping To Avoid Repeat Of Ida With Preparations For Nor’easter

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Officials across the region are preparing for the first major storm system since the devastating impact of Ida over the summer.

Many are still cleaning up from Ida and this week marks nine years since Superstorm Sandy. Precautions like barricading roads to keep cars out of rising waters are being taken to prevent similar damage, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported Monday.

READ MORE: Storm Watch: Timeline Of Rare October Nor’easter Approaching Tri-State Area

Catch basins in New York City and Jersey City were cleared of debris.

“The leaves are always a problem and if they block the catch basin that causes local flooding, roadway flooding,” said Greg Kierce, Jersey City’s director of emergency management and homeland security.

Kierce said lessons were learned after Ida.

“We have locations where we put pumps to help force the water out,” he said.

The city saw more than $ 30 million in damage. Places that never had water before flooded. Sewer lines collapsed and, as of last week, nearly 3,000 people were still looking for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance.

Kierce offered a big tip before this storm.

“If they see barricades, not to drive through them or around them. During the tropical storm we had over 100 cars that we had to pull out of the water, many of which contained people we had to rescue,” he said.

Heavy duty walls were going up around stores and delis in downtown Millburn on Monday evening, an area where several shops were destroyed during Ida, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported.

“We still have people cleaning up and dealing with the aftermath of that so to have another storm that has some significance is probably very worrisome to residents and business owners and everyone just getting back on their feet again,” said Alex McDonald, Millburn’s business administrator.

READ MORE: Storm Watch: Flood Safety Tips, Power Outage Links & More

Town leaders like McDonald said it won’t be the remnants of a hurricane this time, but the first nor’easter of the season is always concerning, and they’re not taking the impending rounds of heavy rain lightly.

“Cleaning pipes and drains, cleaning catch basins, drained Taylor Park Pond in anticipation of tonight’s storm,” McDonald said.

Layton met one gentleman who drove to pick up his daughter and granddaughter in Clifton to stay with him, so the whole family could be safe and together for this storm after a close call during the last one.

“She got flooded out. She lost her car. She lost everything. She lost all her furniture. She almost died her and my granddaughter, they almost died. I’d rather them be with me. I live on the third floor, so they should be all right,” the man said.

“I was on Route 46. The roads are getting a little rough. The police are closing everything down. I’m a little worried because I got flooded at a couple of my properties. We lost our heating and cooling systems and our water systems, and if we lose it again, I’m going bankrupt,” added Dominick Santiago of Passaic.

“If you lose power, call your outage into your provider and stay clear of any downed power lines,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.

NEW YORK CITY, LONG ISLAND READY FOR THE LONG HAUL

New York City is currently under a precautionary state disaster emergency. Woodside, Queens was devastated by Ida, and many residents said they are terrified by the thought of more heavy rains potentially flooding their homes all over again, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.

“Man, I just don’t want to go through this again,” Danette Rivera said.

CBS2 first met Rivera after she had to be rescued from her flooding basement during Ida. She’s now in the process of making repairs and bracing for another potential flood.

“There’s nothing I can do. If it comes through the drains again, which happened last time, it’s gonna be uncontrollable,” Rivera said.

Her neighbor, Barbara, was lining bricks along her garage door, which was dented by Ida’s flood water.

“It won’t close entirely, so the water is gonna seep in. So I put the bricks in,” she said.

The 84-year-old said she is still waiting for money from FEMA, and she’s praying more rain doesn’t make her home any worse.

“I’m scared to death. I just hope it doesn’t happen again,” she said.

Finally at 9:30 p.m., the Department of Transportation pulled up to deliver sand bags for Barbara and all her neighbors.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, after Ida, the city is changing how it alerts people, especially after so many basement apartments flooded. He said the city will enforce possible evacuations and travel bans if necessary.

“Hyper-vigilance is where we’re going to be from now on in the city’s history,” de Blasio said.

Earlier, crews cleared debris from catch basins around the city, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was pre-deploying equipment and crews to the subway stations prone to flooding.

“We have 900 pumps at 300 locations throughout the subway system,” MTA Acting Chairman Janno Lieber said.

On Long Island, “The Nassau County Office of Emergency Management has been activated and we will be closely monitoring high tide this evening through tomorrow,” said County Executive Laura Curran.

Curran gave the update at an event about the revitalization and storm mitigation project in Island Park, where innovative drainage systems will be installed.

CBS2’s Jessica Layton and Ali Bauman contributed to this report

Read more here CBS New York

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