Mid-Atlantic cleans up

Mid-Atlantic residents are picking up after flooding.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | July 14, 2004



"Oh, they're all pretty resilient people up here, they're helping each other out as usual."

—Frank Muller


While some residents of northeastern Maryland are picking up after Monday’s severe flooding, some parts of central New Jersey are still underwater.

Both Burlington and Camden Counties in New Jersey received anywhere from 10 inches to a foot of rain on Monday. In Burlington County’s Medford Township, another 200 people were evacuated today after a dam failed, sending more water into the community. Six dams have failed in the county since the flooding started. Some 500 people were evacuated Monday evening and Tuesday morning as the waters first rose.

New Jersey Governor James McGreevey declared a state of emergency in Burlington and Camden Counties Wednesday, hoping to provide those affected with much needed funds for recovery.

The water is slowly receding, but more rain is expected and many residents aren’t yet able to return to their homes, said New Jersey State Police Captain Al Dellafavy. Standing water is also hampering damage assessments by state officials. In Burlington County, the hardest hit areas include Medford, Medford Lakes, Lumberton, Pemberton, Southampton Township, and Mount Laurel.

In Maryland’s Cecil County, floodwaters ravaged the small town of North East. So far, three homes have been condemned, and four suffered major damages. Another 36 homes in North East and nearby Port Deposit incurred minor damages. Most of the water receded Tuesday.

According to Cecil County Emergency Manager Frank Muller, damage assessments are taking longer than they thought due to severe infrastructure damage. “We’re estimating $1.4 million in damage to our roads and bridges,” said Muller.

Muller said both North East and Port Deposit have experienced flooding before, yet this time it wasn’t from the river. This time small creeks overflowed their banks much more quickly, causing significant damage. Yet due to that experience, the towns pull together well in times of disaster.

“Oh, they’re all pretty resilient people up here, they’re helping each other out as usual,” explained Muller.

In the meantime, they’re keeping an eye to the sky, as more rain is expected this week.

Just south of North East and Port Deposit is the Harford County town of Havre de Grace. Also inundated by Monday’s flood, the town has already bounced back very well, according to one local pastor.

“Havre de Grace is so organized,” said Rev. Lonna Smith, pastor of Webster Congregational Christian Church. “The city is also holding insurance and information meetings today for anyone who has questions.”

Smith’s church offered its services to the city and county, and to anyone who needed it, but has yet to receive any help requests. She said she’ll still stay on top of the recovery and offer help any time it’s needed down the road.

While none of her church’s parishioners were flooded, on Monday she and her mother quickly found out how rising floodwaters can alter your daily routine.

Smith said they were driving home from her local hospital, and every road they tried was flooded. “We’d turn around to try another road, and it would be flooded, too,” she said with a laugh. “We thought we were stuck and would have to wait, but then we noticed some cars going down a little side street. We followed them, and it was like the waters had parted for us right when we needed it.”

She added that she did know some people whose homes were flooded. One woman just had her house condemned today because of the water – a woman that Smith said she was having lunch with at the hospital the day before when the rain was pouring down.

“We know she’s at her house right now trying to clean up, and many people are there assisting her,” she said. “It’s amazing how people here help each other.”


Related Topics:

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How US flood insurance works

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