NJ clean-up continues after deadly storms

July 1, 2012 3:21:21 PM PDT
New Jersey residents are trying to clean up and beat the heat following violent storms that caused widespread damage and power outages.

A State of Emergency remains in effect Sunday afternoon in Salem and Atlantic counties.

Officials of Atlantic City Electric say crews have been working around the clock to restore service since the storm hit late Friday night.

Mark Tarmann's Buena Vista Township block was roped off and taken over by utility crews on Sunday, a visible sign of progress and hope for people still without power.

"It's a good sign that the pole is being worked on," said Tarmann. "I was a little discouraged this morning to see that it's still down."

Another day in the dark means another day of suffering in the oppressive heat.

"You're just sweating, and you can't get out or go anywhere," said Anthony Jenkins.

Meanwhile, the aftermath of the weekend storms is still visible.

Johnny McCrae has a number of large toppled tree limbs spread across his lawn.

"I thought the world was coming to an end. It [the tree] just uprooted and leaned onto the house," said he said.

McRae has to wait for his insurance company to come out and survey any possible damage to his home before removing the limbs.

It's a process that could take days and he's not alone. Downed trees litter thousands of properties in the area.

As some residents deal with damage, others are faced with power outages during a forecasted heat wave.

Ed Kaiser and his family are one of many households still without power.

"They're projecting no power until next Friday. The only thing I thought of was sit in the hot air or go down the beach today to get cool," said Kaiser.

His family of four made the obvious choice - packing their boogie board and beach supplies for a day of family fun in Ocean City.

While crews scurry to restore power and assess damage, many residents are doing what they can to stay safe and keep cool.

With tables and chairs and cots, the Collings Lakes Fire Department is one of several cooling sites set up in the area to help those without power get relief from the heat.

While the waiting game continues for tens of thousands of people in South Jersey, Atlantic City Electric says they are thankful for their customers' patience as they mobilize national resources to help restore power.

"We've asked for 1,000 line personnel from across the northeast as far south as Florida and as far north as Canada," said Atlantic City Electric President Vince Maione.

The utility company says all power should be restored by the end of the week.