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National Guard Arrives in Hoboken to Help Thousands Trapped in Flood, Mayor Says

Half the city still without power, thousands trapped in apartments in flood-ravaged city.

National Guard troops spent much of the day Wednesday rescuing weary residents trapped in their apartments surrounded by several feet of water, and delivering supplies to those who decided to remain.

At least 85 percent of Hoboken was still without power and despite assistance from the National Guard, thousands remained trapped in heavily flooded areas. 

After a desperate plea from Mayor Dawn Zimmer for assistance from the National Guard, the forces arrived late Tuesday night, Zimmer confirmed on Twitter. 

"I am so thankful to have NG here to help our city! Thank you Governor Christie," Zimmer tweeted shortly after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The troops began rescuing residents early Wednesday, beginning with medical emergencies first. 

Among those rescued were a 5-day-old baby and a 6-month-old child with a fever. 

Zimmer said the National Guard was focusing on Hoboken's hardest-hit areas and giving trapped residents a "choice of more supplies if needed or evacuate."

Water was being delivered to most apartments and shelters. 

At least half of Hoboken residents are without power and while flooding is slowly receding, the water is expected to remain for at least a few more days, city officials estimated.

All public schools were canceled on Wednesday and the annual Ragamuffin Parade has been postponed until a yet to be determined date.

While water started receding on Tuesday, it was still impossible in many parts of Hoboken to pass through city streets. Approximately half of Hoboken flooded during Sandy's passage through town on Sunday and Monday.

PSE&G informed its customers that power will likely be restored by Monday, a day before election day.

After it was safe to go outside on Tuesday morning, hundreds of Hobokenites ventured out into the streets—ignoring a city-wide curfew which was not enforced by police—to see the flooding up close and take pictures.

On the corner of Newark and Garden, the coffeeshop Legal Beans coffeeshop was saturated with water, its windows shattered. While the same intersection was hit hard by Irene last year, Sandy's wrath was much more devastating. 

Jason Schwartz, a Hoboken resident for the past 27 years, lost power during the storm, but was otherwise not very affected, he said. Looking at the Hudson River basically flow down Garden Street, he said, "It's sad."

"There's nothing you can do about it," he said, "it's part of living by the water."

On Garden between Newark Street and Observer Highway, people stood on their stoops, unable to get out of their houses. The basement apartments that flooded during Irene were hit harder this time.

On Garden Street, three tenants were removing the water from their flooded ground floor apartment on Tuesday afternoon, by dumping bucket after bucket of water from their apartment.

Stacy Drolshagen, one of the residents, said that during Irene there were only a few inches. Now, there were at least six inches of rainwater inside.

Most businesses were closed on Tuesday and many of them sustained heavy damage. Most of the businesses on Washington Street were in the dark. 

While much of the city is out of power, the mayor and her staffers together with the Office of Emergency Management, the Community Emergency Response Team volunteers and the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps are running a command center in City Hall. The rest of the building remained without power.

Zimmer spent much of the afternoon on a front loader with police officers, assessing the damage and trying to help stranded residents. 

The city experienced issues with its communications, with only one phone line working at the command center. At police headquarters all phones were down, forcing officers to communicate with walkie talkies.

The shelter in the Wallace School was moved to two new locations—Sts Peter & Paul and St. Matthew Trinity—because the back up aggregator failed. Volunteers and supplies—such as pillows and blankets—were needed for the people in the shelters.

MadisonGal November 01, 2012 at 03:35 AM
We left our apt at 11th & Madison last night. There was lots of standing water on Madison still. Anyone know conditions in that area today?
radia November 01, 2012 at 08:27 AM
Hi DZO, They live in apartment complexes on garden street between observer way and Newark street , on the left side when you re coming from observer street, they are in the first floor with a backyard .any news about them would be helpful . Thank you in advance!
Audrey November 01, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Radia, I also live on that exact block. I haven't tried to go back since Sunday night but that street flooded pretty badly. It looked as though basement apartments were flooded and 1st floor a little bit too. They have no power which is probably why you haven't heard from them. Can you give me an building address and apartment number? If I am able to go back today I can check on them for you and tell them to call Radia. Best of luck.
radia November 01, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Thank you so much guys!! I ve just received some news from them, the re safe in another friend s house . Ouf! I m relieved
Rick Saunders November 04, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Not sure about Richard & Victoria, but I did see their boat midweek, and it seems to be fine. It looked like perhaps the gangplank they used for the Yankee was down in the drink, but the ship itself appeared intact and undamaged. The marina right next door to them was a mess. Most of the boats docked there seemed to be okay, but many of the docks themselves had been buckled upwards by the wind or the surge and were left thrusting out of the water at bizarre, improbable angles. Some smaller boats actually were left dangling from their mooring ropes as the dock spots they were tied-up to now were several feet off the water. That said, I don't know if Richard and Victoria chose to evacuate or to stay and ride it out,l but I hope they are safe and their boat looked okay. --Rick Saunders

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