TRENTON –The Ramapo River floodgates are being opened to try to mitigate the anticipated flood impacts of Hurricane Irene, Gov. Chris Christie announced this afternoon.
“Opening the Pompton floodgates will provide only very limited benefit in terms of flood mitigation, but we’re trying something new because we have to do everything we can,” Christie said. “Everyone needs to understand that when we have a rain event of the magnitude we expect this weekend, the Passaic River Basin is going to flood – above and below the floodgates.”
The floodgates will be open approximately 1.5 feet to draw down Pompton Lake by three feet below the spillway crest by this evening, officials said. This will achieve a peak water discharge of 2,500 cubic feet per second, keeping the river within its banks downstream before any rain comes. A higher rate of discharge would cause the river to overflow its banks even before any rain falls.
Christie personally informed local mayors today that the floodgates would be opened. On a conference call this morning with state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, the governor told the mayors to expect that stretches of the Ramapo and Pompton rivers will approach top-of-bank prior to significant rainfall as the release continues.
The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management is coordinating with local officials to prepare for any evacuations that may become necessary. For further information about safety precautions, evacuation routes and best practices, go to ready.nj.gov.
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