Morris County Weathers the Storms

PRESS RELEASE:                                                                                                   

Jan. 12, 2024

For Immediate Release

 

 

The MCSO’s High-water vehicle.

Emergency Preparedness Response Effective Against Weather Events

Flooding, downed trees, increased 9-1-1 and medical calls, power outages and water rescues were the primary concerns at the Morris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this week as emergency responders were activated for Tuesday’s severe rainstorm, bringing high winds and 3-4 inches of rain to the county in a matter of hours.

Officials reported overall success in responding to emergencies during this week’s storm and are now turning their attention to upcoming forecasts of impending rain late tonight.

Morris County OEM partnered with county agencies, municipal leaders and first responders on Tuesday and Wednesday, with 14 other agencies joining team leaders at the EOC, either in person or connecting virtually. Included were the Morris County Sheriff’s Office (MCSCO), the Morris County Communications Center, Morris County Police Chiefs/MCREDS, New Jersey State Police, Morris County Fire Coordinator/Mutual Aid Coordinators (MACs), Morris County Active Fire Chiefs Association, Morris County EMS Coordinator, Morris County Human Services, Morris County Navigating Hope and Hope One, Morris County Roads/Shade Tree, Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L),  American Red Cross, Atlantic Health, Saint Clare’s Health and the Morris County Animal Response Team.

The Morris County Mobile Ambulance Bus (MAB).

The Morris County Hydratrek multipurpose amphibious vehicle was deployed and staged to aid any municipal requests for local rescue efforts. In addition, the MCSCO’s Emergency Services Unit, boat and water rescue teams and the MCSO’s High-water vehicle (HWV) were deployed, with additional support available from certified members of the Morris Township FD. The Morris County Mobile Ambulance Bus (MAB) and MCSO’s County Corrections buses were staffed and staged in the event any residents evacuated from their homes needed transport to a local warming center. 

With a State of Emergency in place, crews from Morris County Shade Tree Division cleared trees and limbs off roads on Tuesday night during the storm and continued additional cleanup Wednesday morning.

Morris County Public Works crews worked through the night to respond to flooding roadways that resulted in numerous road closures throughout the county. The crews also reported live wires tangled in downed trees, which were cleared through jointly coordinated efforts with JCP&L. 

“Public Works was very busy. We had a snowstorm last weekend, and unfortunately, flooding was exacerbated by snowmelt. I commend the coordinated response of Emergency Management, Public Works, Communications, the Sheriff’s Office, our Human Services department, American Red Cross and the many partnering agencies who have been working around the clock to keep things under control during all these weather events we’ve been having,” said Commissioner Director Christine Myers.

Navigating Hope, a mobile Human Services response team, visited Lincoln Park and Dover on Wednesday and remained stationed in Pequannock, Denville and Parsippany throughout the day Thursday to support residents impacted by flooding and power outages. Staff also stopped by Mount Olive on Tuesday in response to residents who lost power due to the snowstorm to provide food and assistance with benefit eligibility applications. The county’s mobile outreach initiative provides social services in the community through a partnership between the Morris County Department of Human Services and Family Promise of Morris County.

The Dover FD with the assistance of the Picatinny Arsenal FD completed a water rescue to move 11 residents to safety in Dover. The homes affected were close to the Rockaway River, which spilled over its banks. Morris County OEM issued a follow-up alert on January 10, as a flood warning remained in effect through the late morning.

Flooding occurred in many Morris County municipalities. All six lanes of Route 23, both North and South, were closed in Pequannock. Officials continue to keep watch over the Wanaque Reservoir, which reached capacity on Wednesday afternoon and was spilling out periodically.

“The overall success of managing larger scale events that have the potential for widescale impacts is partnering with all the entities that play a role in delivering services to the public. This is one of the main purposes of operating an EOC, which we are very fortunate to have here in Morris,” said Jeffrey Paul, Director of Morris County’s OEM. “Working with Sheriff Gannon and his entire team, along with all of the other county agencies and outside partners allows us to collectively do what’s best to support our municipal agencies with additional resources, should they be needed.”

“Our joint attention will now focus on the weather event expected this evening and into Saturday morning. This particular storm front is anticipated to bring less rain compared to what we just experienced, but we recognize that any amount of rain in a short period can lead to overflow in our streams, creeks, and rivers, which impacts local flooding. The current weather reports suggest that we may experience 1 to 2 inches of rain. Winds are anticipated to be 15-25 mph, with gusts reaching 40-50 mph,” Paul continued.

 

 

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