Flood Waters Hit Westwood Thursday
The water rose rapidly in the borough after heavy rains, causing evacuations
Westwood residents evacuated their homes Thursday after heavy rains caused the Pascack Brook to rise. The flooding also closed a significant portion of Broadway. The Westwood Community Center is currently open for any residents who were forced from their homes.
A crane and boats were used to take residents from their homes on Nugent Place and Harding Avenue as water was rising and entering homes there and along Steuben Avenue.
Nugent Place resident Robert Ouellette, who was taken by crane from his house with his two children and two dogs, said he received warnings around 1 and 2 p.m. that the flood gate was coming down.
"The first one didn't seem to cause the water to rise much at all, but after the second one the water just literally came rushing through my backyard like a river," he said. "In the space of 15 minutes I went from no water to water basically completely blocking off the neighborhood."
Ouellette said this is the third flood he's experienced this year.
According to Borough Administrator Robert Hoffman, borough officials received a notification about significant flooding in Rockland County around 2:30 p.m. He said he was in touch with United Water and when he checked the gauge in Park Ridge, the water was crossing at 2,000 cubic feet per second. Hoffmann said the water typically crosses between 100 and 400 cubic feet per second.
Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Darren Blankenbush said the water came both from the local rainfall and from the north.
"We got a significant rain event with a greater rain event north of here, Rockland County and north," he said. "What we're running into is problems with runoff from the north."
Members of the Westwood Fire Department were staged along Lafayette Avenue and helped evacuate residents who wanted to leave but couldn't get out themselves. Blankenbush also said they were checking and securing utilities.
"It came up really quickly," Blankenbush said. "We're doing what we can."
Broadway was also flooded Thursday afternoon near Westwood Plaza. The road was closed off at Irvington Street through to Hillsdale, which also experienced flooding. Water rose into the Westwood Plaza parking lot and affected businesses across the street along Broadway.
Hoffmann said water was also rising by Brookside Park.