The floods didn’t come, but the winds arrived, and leaving the township in a post-tropical cyclone induced darkness that might takes many days to relight.
In their third conference call on the response to and aftermath of Sandy, township officials said the storm left behind several problems, but overall was not as bad as had been projected for Hillsborough.
Instead, they were able to report that only one township resident suffered an injury severe enough to require hospitalization, township facilities fared well–with only a public works shed suffering roof damage and two police cars were damaged by falling limbs–and in the middle of it all a baby was born at an emergency hospital set up in the township.
Mayor Carl Suraci said the hospital was set up by the New Jersey EMS Task Force as a township request.
“We assume we are not going to get any help,” he said. “So we took steps to get the hospital.
The facility was set up at St. Mary’s Byzantine Church and staffed by doctors and nurses. It was essentially a mobile emergency room, he said.
Expecting perhaps injured public workers or residents in need of emergency medial attention, instead they delivered a baby. Suraci provided no information about the child or its family.
Roughly half the township lost electric power, said John Sheridan, the emergency management coordinator. He said residents should expect repairs to take some time.
The township’s two electric companies warned in press released Tuesday that Sandy caused more damage statewide and regionally than either of 2011’s big storms, Hurricane Irene or the Halloween snowstorm.
“Assessments in New Jersey show damage exceeds Hurricane Irene and October 2011 Snowstorm,” JCP&L said in a press release. “Restoration for JCP&L customers is likely to be longer than previous storms. Estimated restoration times for all areas will be provided as soon as they are available. Damage assessments are being conducted both on foot and via helicopter for harder to reach areas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”
PSE&G said in a release that storm surge affected a large number of substations in Essex, Hudson and Middlesex counties. PSE&G has taken these stations out of service until the water recedes, the equipment can be cleaned and dried, and the stations can be safely re-energized. These stations serve about 462,000 customers.
PSE&G said ill be ready to respond to outages as soon as the strong winds subside and it is safe to work in bucket trucks and other equipment. The company said “customers (should) prepare for the possibility of lengthy outages–perhaps seven days or more –due to the enormity of Hurricane Sandy.”
Sheridan said that building inspectors were examining up to a dozen homes that had been struck by trees. That was an increase from four reported incidents earlier Tuesday.
Police Chief Paul Kaminsky said the number of streets still blocked by trees and wires had dropped to 36 from 60, but that the traffic signals were still out or on flash mode. He said state Department of Transportation crews were in the township Tuesday working on the problem.
Township Administrator Anthony Ferrara said commuters heading to work Wednesday should expect to find signaled intersections with broken signals. He said all such intersections should be approached as a four-way stop.
He said that the township’s decision to hire a private company to assist in tree and wire removal, helped get roads open more quickly that in the past. It should also aid on getting power restored once the electric companies map out their strategies in the township.
Sheridan said the emergency shelter at the municipal complex is closed. Suraci said the shelter at the VFW Hall on Washington Avenue in Manville is still open.
School superintendent Justen Schiff said schools are closed Wednesday, and that the situation for Thursday and Friday will be evaluated.
Because of days lost this week, schools will be open Monday and Wednesday, originally planned as teacher in-serviced days. Tuesday, Election Day, will remain an in-service day with no classes.
Kaminsky said two gas station were open, the Quik Check on Route 206 and the Getty station at Route 206 and New Amwell Road. The lines were long at both, he said.