At least 23 New Jerseyans died after Tropical Storm Ida caused deadly flooding, high winds and tornadoes on Wednesday evening, Gov. Phil Murphy said today.
“The majority of these deaths were individuals who got caught in their vehicles by flooding and were overtaken by the water,” he said at an afternoon briefing in Hillsborough.
Murphy said that New Jersey is “still very much in the midst of the impacts of Ida.”
The storm struck while many areas were still saturated from rains from Henri, leading to severe flooding in some areas of the state which won’t subside for days,” stated Murphy.
According to Murphy, 44,000 customers are still without power, down from 93,000 “at the height of the storm.”
He said New Jerseyans are looking at “days, not hours” to full restore power.
“For some residents, we know restoration may take some time. We urge everyone’s patience as crews are working as quickly and safely as possible,” he said. “Many crews couldn’t get out into the field as soon as they wanted to yesterday because the storm’s sustained flooding made it hazardous for them to do so.”
Murphy, who declared a State of Emergency last night, said he spoke with President Joe Biden this morning and has received offers of assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Our homeowners, towns, and businesses will need a great deal of support in the wake of this storm and we will work tirelessly with our federal partners to meet that need,” said Murphy.
Murphy warned New Jersey residents to
New Jersey Transit is still working to clear tracks and restore rail services to a full schedule.
Murphy was joined at the Hillsborough briefing by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), Assemblymen Roy Freiman (D-Hillsborough) and Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick).
Coughlin praised first responder and emergency workers.
“We don’t know how many lives you save, but my guess is it’s far more than the 23 who we lost, so thank you to all of them,” Coughlin said. “Keep up the good work to all of the people of New Jersey.
Malinowski said the threat of Ida is not yet over.
“The floodwaters are receding here, but for our river towns … are bracing for the Delaware River actually continuing to rise, Malinowski said. “It’s going to crest tonight — at I’ve heard., nine or ten PM, so we’re not yet at the recovery phase. We’re still dealing with. A very, very serious situation for some of our fellow New Jerseyans.”
Earlier today, Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden) toured the Mullica Hill section of Harrison Township, which was hit by a tornado last night.