‘This is all too familiar’

Recent rainstorms wreak havoc from Delran to Palmyra and Cinnaminson

Albert J. Countryman Jr./The Sun
The Rancocas Creek floods the intersection of Stewart Avenue and River Drive in Delran at high tide on Jan. 13, after a huge rainstorm on the morning of Jan. 10 swamped home basements with 20 inches of rapidly moving water.

It just kept raining Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, Jan. 10, and by high tide that afternoon raging water from the Delaware River and its tributaries were flooding homes in Delran, Cinnaminson and Palmyra.

“There was 20 inches of water in my basement and backyard, and the Delran Fire Department spent all night pumping out water for me and my neighbors,” said Bob Gilbert, who lives at 75 Stewart Ave.

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“All of us on this street have been getting flooded regularly since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. This time I only lost my water heater,” added Gilbert on Saturday, Jan. 13, who has been boiling water on the stove for cooking and cleaning.

“This is worse than Sandy,” continued Gilbert, pointing out that the flood waters flowed all the way from the Rancocas Creek, past Friendship Park, and up to Burge Street, which is three blocks inland toward the L&M Bakery. A resident near the park said she had two feet of water in her basement.

The Rancocas Creek merges with the Delaware River several hundred yards upstream from River Drive.

“It was terrible,” said Gilbert, adding that every two years for 12 years Delran officials have said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was going to do a study at a cost of $200,000 to address the problem. “We are still waiting for a study.”

On Jan. 13 already reeling from the storm a few days prior, Gilbert was watching the creek flood the intersection of Stewart Avenue and River Drive once again at high tide. This is worse than Sandy,”

“It was beautiful. Families took photos there for weddings and graduations. I think they should dredge the creek and put the dirt as backfill on a new bulkhead to stop the flooding,” Gilbert said.

In nearby town Riverton, police blocked off Bank Avenue at the foot of Linden Avenue to traffic as the Delaware River breached the wall and flooded out a small picnic area with statues at the foot of Morgan Avenue in Palmyra.

Albert J. Countryman Jr./The Sun
Ducks swim in a small picnic area with statues at the foot of Morgan Avenue in Palmyra, where the Delaware River breached the wall on the afternoon of Jan. 13.

During the big rainstorm on the morning of Jan. 10, the Delaware River rose to 11.9 feet, which was a record high and above the major flood stage of 11.3 inches.

This also affected its tributaries, as the Pennsauken Creek breached its banks and flooded many homes in the Extension section of Cinnaminson Township and the Rancocas Creek swamped low lying areas in Delran, Delanco and Riverside. The Delaware also flooded the East Riverton section of Cinnaminson Township.

Areas of Burlington County impacted by flooding or other storm damages included parts of Delran, Cinnaminson, Beverly, Bordentown City, Burlington City, Delanco, Mount Holly, Mount Laurel, Palmyra, Riverside, Willingboro and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, spokesperson David Levinsky said.

“So far, four homes in Delran have been condemned due to damages and homes in Cinnaminson are also being assessed to determine if they are safe. The Burlington County Department of Human Services is working to assist a family displaced by the damages to find accommodations,” he added.

On Jan. 10, emergency personnel conducted water rescues of people from homes, including three in Delran, three in Cinnaminson and one each in Palmyra, Bordentown City and Riverside.

“Delran was the hardest hit town, with more than 50 homes impacted, predominantly in the areas of Alden and Stewart avenues and River Drive,” Levinsky said.

On Stewart Avenue in Delran, residents were still pumping water out of their basements into the street with hoses and sump pumps on Jan. 13.

“This is all too familiar,” Gilbert said. “This time something has to get done to stop the flooding.”

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