LINDENWALD, N.J. – The Camden County Department of Public Works, Office of Emergency Management and Department of Public Safety are closely monitoring a storm system bringing scattered severe thunderstorms to our area this afternoon. In less than eight hours from the end of this morning’s historic storm system that created more than five inches of rain over the course of five hours, the county is taking extra precautions in the event that another forecast four inches of rain is going to fall.
“Camden County crews are clearing inlet tops of debris, checking on flood gates and preparing barricades and cones in case of the need for road closures,” Freeholder Susan Shin Angulo, liaison to the Camden County DPW said in a press release. “Our chippers are fueled and hitched to trucks and chainsaws are fueled and ready in the event downed trees or limbs block county roadways.”
According to the Department of Public Safety, the dispatch center received more than 1,000 calls for service from midnight until the end of the storm around 7 A.M. this morning. For context, during the same time period on June 18, 220 calls were received. More than 240 fire calls came in and 70 of those calls were for occupied vehicles stuck in water. Based on the severity of the weather this morning, the county opened its Emergency Operations Center at 3:30 A.M. and will continue to operate out of it until this next weather event has passed.
“Based on our first responders experience last night please get off the roads and stay at home during this upcoming storm system,” Freeholder Jonathan Young, liaison to the Department of Public Safety said. “We are still dealing with closures and flooding from the previous storm making the prospect of four more inches of rain and high winds a severe compounding factor for the health and welfare of our residents and drivers.”
Based on the imminent threat from the pending severe thunderstorms, Camden County closed all buildings, parks and the library system starting at 2 P.M. today, except for essential personnel. In addition, tonight’s Freeholder meeting in Cherry Hill will be cancelled and rescheduled for next week.
According to the press release from the county, the main threat window for this line of storms is between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The storm could produce hail, deliver wind gusts between 50 and 60 miles per hour and even create an isolated tornado. This weather will result in downed trees and power lines and renewed roadway flooding.
Residents are encouraged to stay off the roads and inside, or if need be, proceed with significant caution and avoid low-lying areas where flooding is evident, and avoid any downed power lines. At the public works complex in Lindenwold, a fleet of about 100 vehicles stand ready to keep Camden County’s 1,400 lane miles of roadways passable.
“If flooding occurs in our area, never drive your vehicle into areas where water covers the roadway,” Young said. “Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road. In short: turn around, don’t drown.”
Despite the severity of the next storm, the Freeholder Board, based on the struggle and challenges being experienced by residents, first responders and families in Camden County from the previous storm, are asking for a major disaster declaration by Gov. Phil Murphy.
“Ensuring that we have resources for our OEM, Public Safety and first responders is critical,” Young said. “Based on the destruction that has already been caused by the previous flooding a declaration is warranted and needed as soon as possible.”
In the event that the weather causes isolated power outages, please remember to immediately call your utility company so they can identify the location and coordinate crews to restore your power. This storm has the potential to bring down trees and power lines residents need to be extra cognizant of any power failures. Below are numbers and contact info for the two power providers in Camden County:
- PSE&G: 1-800-436-PSEG (7734)
- PSEG website: http://pseg.com/home/customer_service/outage_info/index.jsp
- Atlantic City Electric: 1-800-833-7476
- Atlantic City Electric website: http://www.atlanticcityelectric.com/home/
- South Jersey Gas: 1-800-582-7060
- South Jersey Gas website: http://southjerseygas.com/
As always, please use 911 for emergencies only. If you see a problem on a county road, please call our 24-hour hotline at (856) 566-2980 to report it to DPW.
The following are undated cancelations:
- Camden County closed at 2 P.M. due to flooding and additional rain predicted, except for essential personnel.
- Freeholder Meeting is cancelled for tonight 6/20 and rescheduled for Tuesday 6/25 at 12pm in Camden.
- Out of the Library, Into the Community at the Merchantville Branch of the Camden County Library System is cancelled.
- Keys to Saving Lives: Question, Persuade & Refer at Camden County Education Services Commission is cancelled.
- DisABILITIES Fitness Class at the Dipiero Building located at 512 Lakeland Road in Blackwood is cancelled.