Flooding threatens parts of mid-Atlantic region

Eric Labrador, 25, wades through flood waters Tuesday in Wayne, N.J. Water had just begun subsiding from flooded parts of New Jersey when more rain was forecast for the region.

Eric Labrador, 25, wades through flood waters Tuesday in Wayne, N.J. Water had just begun subsiding from flooded parts of New Jersey when more rain was forecast for the region. Photo by The Associated Press.

WAYNE, N.J. (AP) — The mid-Atlantic region braced Tuesday for heavy rains that forecasters said could push rivers and streams over their banks and into neighborhoods over the next few days.

Water had just begun subsiding from perennially flooded parts of New Jersey as the state Office of Emergency Management said it was preparing for another deluge.

“I just walked over to my house to turn the electric back on to save the food in my refrigerator,” Robert Hamlin, of Wayne, said between bites of a sandwich. “Now, with all the rain they’re predicting for Thursday, I’m just going to have to go and turn it back off again.”

The National Weather Service by Tuesday afternoon had already posted a flood watch for parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, along with northern Delaware and northeastern Maryland, from Thursday morning through Friday morning.

Forecasters said that rain may begin overnight Wednesday, but that the heaviest rainfall is expected Thursday, with some areas getting 2 to 3 inches. Of particular concern were the Passaic, Raritan, Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, all of which flow through heavily populated parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia.

Flooded streets closed across New Jersey on Tuesday, many residents had been evacuated or had headed to nearby hotels, and others slogged through water that was waist-high in some cases to retrieve belongings and assess damage.

In Pompton Lakes, Chris Baker wound up with 2 feet of water on the first floor of his two-story house, ruining most of his furniture. He stayed in a hotel Tuesday.

“This time we didn’t have much warning,” Baker said. “So I grabbed just a couple of pairs of pants, a little suitcase and beat it out the door.”

The flooding forecast comes as New England cleans up from snow and floods caused by a powerful late-winter storm.

It dumped more than 2 feet of snow on parts of northern New York and Vermont. It caused patchy damage in southern New England, where swollen rivers swept away parts of a few houses and at least one mudslide buried cars.

It also pushed the winter of 2010-11 up the record list. It gave Burlington, Vt., its biggest March snowfall on record, at 25.8 inches, and its third-snowiest winter on record so far, at 124.3 inches.

The 13 inches that fell in Syracuse, N.Y., made it the fourth-snowiest winter on record there, with a seasonal total of 173.5 inches compared with the record of 192.1, set in 1992-93. Rochester, N.Y., surpassed 112 inches of snow by Sunday, more than 30 inches above normal.

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