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Snow melt, flooding pelts East

Some NJ residents were evacuated from their homes Thursday as floods hit Mid-Atlantic states.

BY PJ HELLER | BALTIMORE | December 11, 2003

Rain and rapid snow melt triggered by warmer than normal temperatures Thursday caused flooding in several Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states.

There were no reports of any major damages, injuries or deaths. The flooding caused numerous road closures, snarling traffic.

Flood watches and warnings were posted for parts of eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and New York.

The heaviest flooding appeared to be in New Jersey, where roads were inundated and some 100 Camden residents had to be evacuated in boats from their homes. A half a dozen people were rescued from their stalled cars, officials reported.

“In some low-lying areas, they had 5 or 6 feet of water in the streets,” reported Camden Fire Chief Joseph Marini. “We had flooding of basements of occupied buildings, which in turn precipitated several natural gas leaks. It was a mess.”

By mid-afternoon Thursday, the rain which had begun a day earlier began to move out of the area.

Even so, the National Weather Service issued flood warnings for the Millstone River at Blackwells Mills, the Raritan River at Stanton, Raritan, Manville and Bound Brook. Moderate flooding was forecast for the Millstone River with minor flooding predicted for the Raritan River.

Flash flood warnings were issued for Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey. A warning issued for Union County was cancelled late in the afternoon.

The Boston area, still digging out from a weekend snow storm that dumped as much as 3 feet of snow in some areas, appeared to have escaped any flooding.

In Pennsylvania, upwards of 4 inches of rain soaked the Delaware Valley, prompting flood warnings in Delaware and Chester counties. In Bucks and Montgomery counties, creeks spilled over their banks, forcing several roads to close. In Montgomery County, residents of an apartment had to be evacuated. Several traffic accidents were also reported.

Heavy rains combined with the melting snow also caused some minor flooding in Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties in Maryland. In Carroll County, at least 18 roads, most of them adjacent to the Monocacy River, were closed due to flooding. Six roads near the Patapsco River and North Point were also reported closed.

Water levels were expected to recede during the night, according to the National Weather Service. But colder overnight temperatures could cause the water to freeze, making travel hazardous Friday morning.

Flood warnings were issued by the National Weather Service for Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Baltimore counties as well as the city of Baltimore.

A flood warning was issued Thursday evening for the Housatonic River at the Stevenson Dam in New York with minor flooding expected to affect the riverside community of Oxford. A warning was also sounded for the Schoharie Creek area.

Minor flooding was also reported in Greene and Ulster counties in New York, where as more than 2 inches of rain fell in some areas. Flash flood warnings had been issued earlier for Rockland County in southeast New York.

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