UPDATE 7:00 p.m.—Power Returning; Shelter Remains Open Till 8 a.m.
Mayor: Some parts of the city could be under five feet of water Sunday.
Although the Hoboken Housing Authority seemed to have suffered most severely from Hurricane Irene, power in multiple buildings was turned back on.
Hobokenites who decided to leave were allowed back into the city, officials announced, but were urged to wait until Sunday evening when a lot of the water will have receded. Water was receding in most streets.
The shelter was planned to stay open until 8 a.m. at the Wallace School. Mayor Dawn Zimmer and several staff members delivered water and food late afternoon on Sunday to the last regions of town that needed help, such as the housing authority.
Flooding of the PATH station wasn't as bad as anticipated. PATH service was planned to return at 4 a.m.
A few steps further away from the station, however, in front of the Lackawanna Terminal (see photo at right), the Hudson River overflowed for the first time in decades.
Flood waters rose as high as five feet in the western part of town and water overflowed piers in uptown Hoboken on Sunday morning, as the worst of the storm hit as the Hudson was at high tide around 8 a.m.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer warned residents that there are wires in the water at Fifth and Jefferson Streets, Sixth and Garden Streets, 703 Park Ave. and 800 Madison St. Walking in the water when there are wires down could cause electrocution, Zimmer said, and residents are urged to stay inside.
Around 9 a.m., the Hudson River was almost over its banks, due to excessive rain and high tide.
Additionally, PSE&G informed customers that it would turn off power on Sunday because the utility's substation in Jersey City was flooded. This would affect close to 9,000 people. Many reports of loss of power have come out of the western part of town, where water in some streets is waist deep, according to a local police officer who had just made his rounds Sunday morning.
A leak in the basement of police headquarters was also reported. The Wallace shelter had one person there around 6 a.m. Sunday, after a second evacuation of thirteen people to the Izod center a few hours earlier.
Around 6 a.m. reports of a person jumping into the Hudson River came in. Around 7 a.m. emergency personnel said the man had been found, walking on Clinton Street.
The Hoboken University Medical Center, which was evacuated on Saturday but kept its emergency room open, lost power on Sunday morning.
Other fllooding that was reported overnight, was located at downtown portions of Newark Street, Observer Highway, and Madison and Monroe between Ninth and Tenth. A car was reported floating into the street at 700 First Street, and there was a report of a water leak at Fifth and Washington in an apartment. A total of three trees were down in town as of 6:30 a.m.
At Fifth and Jefferson as well as Fifth and Grand Streets, trees fell on power lines, causing outages. Fire alarms were activated at 801 Madison St.
Late Saturday night, around 11:30 p.m., concerned that flooding from Hurricane Irene would be worse than predicted, city officials loaded approximately 50 Hoboken residents who were being sheltered at the Wallace school onto three buses and moved them to a larger shelter at the Izod Center in East Rutherford.
The Hoboken group was the first one to arrive at the Izod center, which was nearly empty.
Mayor Zimmer was at the Wallace School shelter earlier Saturday, saying that one of her biggest concerns was to move all of the senior citizens from senior buildings, especially those who are on oxygen tanks or other electronic devices.
Carmelo Garcia, Executive Director of the Hoboken Housing Auhtority, said that many seniors were hesitant to leave their homes. Garcia said before the storm that most people would be staying in the housing authority, which has a back-up generator, which doesn't power individual units.
In Hoboken, hurricane conditions picked up rapidly between midnight and 1 a.m. on Sunday, with the water of the Hudson River high and the streets flooding rapidly. The area behind the terminal was flooded around midnight.
Driving through Hoboken in a police vehicle, OEM personnel and the mayor surveyed the town, looking at streets and worrying about more potential flooding. During the ride, reports of flooding on the western side of town—Harrison Street between Newark and Second; Park and First; the area in front of Lackawanna Terminal and the Shoprite area—came in over the police radio.
Strong gusts of wind started a little after 1 a.m., blasting through the streets, and rattling the doors of City Hall.
All residents of ground floor apartments or condos were subject to a mandatory evacuation.
As night fell, and rain started falling, Hoboken's streets grew quiet and many cars were moved as owners responded to the mayor's warnings about flooding. The midtown garage allowed 150 extra cars to be parked there late Saturday afternoon.