High Tide May Worsen Flooding in Hoboken
Sunday night marks one of the highest tides of the year, which could mean most of Hoboken will experience flooding.
The arrival of hurricane Irene could mean that close to 70 percent of Hoboken's streets will be under water during Sunday's predicted storm, according to a grim map of Hoboken's flood prone areas.
On top of rain and wind, the Hudson River's tide will be at 5.6 feet above sea level on Sunday night, said Executive Director of the North Hudson Sewage Authority Fred Pocci. Irene is supposed to arrive in our region around that time.
This is one of the highest tides of the year, Pocci explained. A low tide will return on Monday around 3:15 a.m., he said, at which point flood water will recede.
Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency on Thursday afternoon, and advised all residents to leave the shore.
For Hoboken, one worst case scenario could be if the water floods the harbor, Pocci said. This could impact Hoboken's terminal and cause flooding down in the PATH station.
The downtown wet weather pump that is being constructed is not yet ready for use, but may be partially operational in October, Pocci said. Although he said that the pump will significantly improve flooding conditions in Hoboken, it's unclear how much exactly.
The pump will be in place to overcome the effects of high tides.
"It's not sure how effective it will be to dry up the whole town," Pocci said, "but it will help tremendously."
Pocci said that the NHSA has recommended multiple pumps be built in the city of Hoboken to relieve the entire flooding problem.
As far as the impending storm is concerned, Pocci said that two crews of NHSA workers will be ready to work after the storm is over to make sure the water recedes and catch basins are cleaned out.
The city released a map of areas of Hoboken that could experience flooding in the event of a hurricane. All streets west of Garden could be under water, according to the Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes model that the city is using.
Only Washington Street and the Stevens campus are high enough to keep residents' feet dry in the event of a hurricane, according to the city.
Pocci said that the lowest parts of town—and thus will likely experience the worst flooding this weekend—are First and Monroe Streets; Jackson Street in the area of Fourth Street and Second and Marshall Drive.
The city is urging residents to leave town and park cars outside of Hoboken, because of the chance of flooding. An emergency center will be set up in the Wallace School. The City is currently offering $5 parking in the city's municipal garages for people with a parking permit. Free parking for residents in flood prone areas may be announced closer to the storm on Sunday.
The exact time of arrival of Irene is still unclear. As of Thursday afternoon, the hurricane was travelling at 14 miles per hour in the direction of Florida, according to the National Weather Service.
Other than preparing and cleaning out the facilities, Pocci said there is not much else to do but wait and see what happens.
"There’s nothing you can do when it hits," Pocci said, "all you can do is watch."