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Thousands Without Power After Sandy Brings Damaging Winds

Residents of historically flood-prone areas were making last-minute preparations Monday morning for the storm.

Updated at 11:21 a.m. Tuesday.

Gusting winds knocked down numerous trees around the Pascack Valley Monday, damaging buildings and starting fires with downed power lines.

Thousands of area residents were without power early Tuesday. Westwood, Hillsdale and Washington Township each had between 2,001 and 5,000 customers without power, according to a PSE&G outage map. Crews were out working in the area Tuesday morning one winds had slowed down.

In Washington Township, Fire Chief Jamie Powell estimated 90 percent of the town was without power at about 10:30 a.m. Eight poles had snapped, bringing wires down. Several houses had also been hit by falling trees, some of which had been condemned due to structural damage, Powell said.

Hillsdale Police recommended that residents stay home and not use vehicles due to road conditions. Police reported shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday that power was out in "most of the borough" and the following roads were closed:

  • Reservoir Road and Church Road- the causeway is closed
  • Pascack Road by Wierimus Lane
  • Hillsdale Avenue between Saddlewood Drive and Taylor Street
  • Broadway in the area of Dwight Avenue
  • Kinderkamack Roadd northbound by Piermont Avenue

The Hillsdale Office of Emergency Management canceled the borough's flood watch Monday night.

Landscaper Anthony Petruccelli, who was out clearing fallen trees for most of the day, estimated there were 200 trees down or damaged in Westwood alone.

Westwood Mayor John Birkner declared a state of emergency in the borough lasting from noon Monday until noon Wednesday or later.

The state gives officials the power to make emergency expenditures as necessary, Birkner said.

"It's bad and it's getting worse," Birkner said Monday afternoon. "We're starting to see tree limbs come down. People need to stay indoors."

Officials in Westwood and Hillsdale had asked residents of flood-prone neighborhoods to evacuate, but no mandatory evacuations were required.

Westwood has set up a transfer shelter at the borough municipal building for any residents who need shelter and cannot get to one themselves. The borough will transport them to a county shelter.

Washington Township residents will also be able to get transported to a county shelter by meeting at the senior center.

Residents of flood-prone areas near the Pascack Brook were making last-minute preparations Monday morning as Hurricane Sandy continued approaching northern New Jersey.

Hillsdale resident Joe Meyers, who moved out of his Glendale Drive home after Hurricane Irene flooded it last year, was using a borrowed van to move a washing machine and other valuables out of the house.

Nearby, on Harding Avenue in Westwood, Kevin Widmayer was putting up plywood and laying down sandbags and plastic sheets in front of his garage door. He had also moved furniture upstairs. The family moved into the home just a few months ago, but Widmayer said he was aware of the previous flooding.

"We're just trying to prepare the best we can," Widmayer said.

DPW crews in Westwood and Hillsdale were also busy clearing as many leaves as they could from area streets. Officials from both towns had asked residents to keep their leaves away from the curb, as they can clog storm drains and worsen flooding.

In Washington Township, Schlegel Lake had been lowered.

Many local businesses were closed Monday. Along Broadway, where businesses had flooded during Hurricane Irene, many stores had sandbags in front of their doors and tape across their windows.

Local schools were closed Monday and Tuesday and government meetings for Monday and Tuesday had been canceled.

Read more:

  • Sandy Central on Patch (Our live feed of coverage)
  • Bergen County Opens Storm Shelter
  • President Obama Issues Emergency Declaration For New Jersey
  • State Officials Order Lowering of Woodcliff Lake Reservoir

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Gary Conkling October 29, 2012 at 06:30 PM
With such warning about this storm why is the WW Dpw picking leaves up today. With such dangerous conditions today putting anyone at risk is just insane. Sat and Sunday would have made more sense.
scruffy October 29, 2012 at 08:31 PM
They were not picking up leaves but clearing leaves from storm sewers which frankly the residents could make sure are clear since they are in front of their homes. I have been out numerous times to clear mine so when the rain comes it can flow.
scruffy October 29, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Why people raked leaves into the street this past weekend for the life of me I cannot understand they knew a major storm was coming. No excuse for blocking up the roads.
Falcon Fan October 29, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Maybe because inconsiderate idiots put leaves out on the street over the weekend and the DPW is trying to keep storm drains clear so idiots like you don't complain that the town didn't clear the leaves before the storm.
Tom Troncone (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I live on Paul Court in Hillsdale. Big tree snapped a telephone police in front of my house. Now we're all trapped in the dead end with no power. Oh, well. Could be worse. For the record, too, the piles of leaves have been on the street for like two weeks.
Pauline October 30, 2012 at 04:39 AM
A couple of days ago, we received an email from the Borough of Westwood asking us not to put leaves on the street. Streets in my area were cleared of leaves prior to the storm arrival.
Barbara F. October 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Westwood has always done a decent job with keeping the drains clear. I also received an email requesting to keep leaves out of the street. Keep in mind if they had picked up the leaves too early the drains would be clogged again and Gary would still be complaining. Thanks DPW.
Gary Conkling October 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Barbara .You must have miss read the post The post was about putting workers at risk not about doing a job. If a E-mail was sent not put leaves in the street and residents did they should be fined. No complaint here
Barbara F. October 30, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Gary, fair enough. Everybody is stressed. Stay safe.
Nancy Dietel October 30, 2012 at 04:46 PM
It was commercial Landscaping trucks raking, blowing and leaving huge piles of leaves in the street. We confronted them Friday and told them not to do it, but they didn't listen! Took photos.

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