Focus turns to flooding concerns

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Police say the driver of this vehicle illegally passed another driver, then crashed.</span></div>
February 13, 2008 12:05:37 PM PST
Rain and slush blanketed large swaths of New Jersey Wednesday, causing flood warnings, power outages and some airport delays a day after snow and sleet hit the state.

The National Weather Service warned of flooding throughout northern New Jersey, telling Garden State residents to look out for flooded streams, highways and underpasses while driving.

There were also flood watches in place in central and southwestern New Jersey counties.

Since the storm system blew into the state Tuesday afternoon, parts of north Jersey received more than two inches of precipitation, said Lee Robertson, a meteorologist in the weather service's Mount Holly office.

Another ½ inch to an inch was expected Wednesday across the state, according to the weather service.

Most of the southern part of the state was spared flooding worries because it only saw an inch of rain since Tuesday, Robertson said.

Power companies were experiencing some outages. PSE&G, the state's largest electric utility, reported scattered problems, according to spokeswoman Bonnie Sheppard.

About 20,000 Jersey Central Power & Light customers, most in Sussex County, were without power midday.

JCP&L northern division spokesman John Anderson said crews had been sent out in anticipation of problems and were working to assess damage caused by the ice storm.

Rockland Electric, which serves a small part of northern New Jersey, had just a handful of customers without power, spokesman Mike Donavan said. In southern New Jersey, Atlantic City Electric had less than 100 customers without power.

The weather was also responsible for some issues at Newark Liberty International Airport, where some arriving flights were delayed nearly three hours.

NJ Transit was not experiencing any problems on its rails as of late morning, according to spokeswoman Courtney Carroll, but its buses were subject to local road conditions and could be detouring. Carroll also said a shuttle train that runs between Princeton and Princeton Junction was down due to power trouble that Amtrak was experiencing. Buses were running in its place.

Wednesday morning, in the northern part of the state, more than 100 accidents were reported on state roads, the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, according to Sgt. Stephen Jones, a spokesman for New Jersey State Police.

Tuesday night state police received a few hundred calls reporting accidents and stranded motorists in the southern part of the state due to icy roads, Jones said.

"A lot of it is driver error. There were speed reductions on the Turnpike and people were ignoring it as if there was no ice," said Jones.


Associated Press writer Chris Newmarker contributed to this report.