Reporting two additional deaths as a result of flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ina with six individuals still missing, Gov. Phil Murphy says he expects the death toll to rise above the current statewide total of 25.
“All of these deaths are related in either directly or indirectly to flooding and water, either in cars or homes, and it’s an absolute tragedy. Bless their souls,” Murphy said in an appearance on TODAY on NBC on Friday.
Murphy said the state did a good warning New Jerseyans to remain indoors.
“We shouted out on unequivocally that tornadoes were likely, and flooding was likely that this was going to be a very significant historic rainstorm,” he said. “We declared a State of Emergency before anybody else in our neighborhood.”
The state’s biggest concern right now, according to Murphy, is that New Jerseyans need to understand that the crisis related to the storm is ongoing.
“While the weather may be good, and while the flood waters may have receded, we’re still not out of the woods,” he said. “We still have a lot of damage that we’re dealing with. We still have flood waters that are higher, significantly higher than normal.”
People take tornadoes more seriously than they do flooding, Murphy explained.
“You’ve got 8 to 10, if not more, inches of rain in across only several hours, and I think back to the warning — I don’t know if it’s human nature or not, but tornado warnings get heeded immediately,” Murphy said. “People hear that they go to their basement, and I think too many people, sadly. When they hear flooding, they think you know what it’s water. I can deal with it and bless their souls. We’ve got 25 people who tried and lost their lives.
Murphy said that none of the casualties were caused by tornadoes.
“Everybody went down into the basement, and they lived,” he said.