Great Egg Harbor River recedes after historic flooding

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alt Officials were monitoring the water level in the Great Egg Harbor River in Mays Landing early this week due to flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Photo by Claire Lowe

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – The Great Egg Harbor River is receding after reaching 2 feet above flood stage following the rainstorms that began Saturday, Aug. 13.

The river’s level rose so high that residents in the Weymouth Furnace section of the township were voluntarily evacuating their homes Tuesday.

The actual precipitation amounts in the area were relatively low, but just west of Hamilton Township, in Buena Vista Township, more than  3 inches of rain fell, according to www.cocorahs.org.

 

Township Administrator Michael Jacobs informed Township Committee at the Monday, Aug. 15 meeting of a breach upstream along the Great Egg Harbor River and said he was told a lot of water was heading toward Mays Landing. A flood warning was issued for Atlantic County by the National Weather Service in Mount Holly on Tuesday until 9 a.m. Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service, the Great Egg Harbor River at Folsom was in major flood stage. At 4:30 a.m. Tuesday it was at 8.12 feet, more than 2 feet above flood stage and still rising. This was the second highest stage of record dating back to Sept. 3, 1940 when it reached 9 feet.

Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator for Atlantic County Ed Conover said Tuesday afternoon that several roads in neighboring Folsom were closed due to flooding as well as in Weymouth Furnace.

“There are issues at Weymouth Furnace. That area is being affected. Some of the residents have voluntarily evacuated,” he said. “There are also some issues in Indian Branch Park.”

Conover said Tuesday that the county worked with Hamilton Township and the contractor working on the Lenape Dam to have the dam opened over the weekend in order to accommodate the increase in water. He said it “went a long way to helping Mays Landing.”

Conover expected to see increased water levels around Mays Landing by Wednesday.

“It’s water, so it’s moving down the river. The problems we’re seeing in the western portion of the county will eventually get down to the eastern part and affect Mays Landing and Lake Lenape,” he said.

Jacobs said Tuesday the water level was being monitored and that the township was more worried about the river than the lake.

“Right now everything is OK,” he said. “They think the actual rise, although it’s still rising, it’s slowing.”

The National Weather Service extended its flood warning Wednesday afternoon until 5 a.m. Thursday. The level of the river at Folsom at the time was 7 feet.

Jacobs said Wednesday that the river seems to be leveling off.

“The lake is still rising.  We are monitoring it closely,” he said.

 

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