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Ida Causes Havoc In The Eight Villages

A number of water rescues were necessary between September 1 and 2 as a result of the floodwaters spurred by Ida.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida roared into the township on September 1, dropping torrential rain and causing the Millstone River to rise to nearly historic levels, spurring what one township official called “catastrophic” flooding.

Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, then made its way to the northeast, hitting our area as a tropical depression on September 1 before heading out to the Atlantic Ocean the next day.

The storm brought sheets of rain through the late afternoon and evening, then unexpectedly stalled, soaking an already saturated ground with up to 10 inches of rain by the time it moved on.

The record storm height for the Millstone River at Blackwells Mills is 21.2 feet; at about 8:30 a.m. on September 2, the river peaked at 20.87 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Flood level for the Millstone River is nine feet.

At 10:15 p.m. on September 2, the Millstone River at Blackwells Mills was still at 18.32 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

The massive flooding that occurred in parts of the township the night of September 1 prompted “numerous” rescues of drivers stranded in their cars, said Capt. Phil Rizzo of the Franklin Township Police Department.

Rizzo said that from 7 p.m. September 1 to 8 a.m. September 2, the FTPD responded to: nine motor vehicle accidents, 87 disabled motor vehicles, two assists to other agencies, 22 calls for flooded or hazardous roads, and 16 water rescues/squad calls.

“Mother Nature threw us a curve ball and our first responders hit it out of the park,” said Mayor Phil Kramer. “They prevented a lot of misery”

The flooding also closed many roads, such as Easton Avenue from Worlds Fair Drive to Bound Brook, parts of South Middlebush Road, Canal Road, and even some side streets off Hamilton Street.

Also flooded out were the causeways at Blackwells Mills and Griggstown, and the Amwell Road bridge into East Millstone.

The ramps for exits 10 and 12 on Route 287 were also closed, and police were asking drivers to stay away from the area.

At Complete Care at Willow Creek, a nursing home and rehabilitation center on Easton Avenue, 95 patients had to be rescued when floodwater from the D&R Canal and Raritan River overtook the property.

There were no injuries during the rescue, Rizzo said. He said the patients were taken to another facility.

Several employees of Wendy’s on Easton Avenue had to be airlifted from that property when the floodwater proved too great.

Here are some scenes from the day:

Here is a short video of one of the rescues from Wendy’s on Easton Avenue, sent to us by Susan Seamon:

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