Hoboken, shore towns brace for severe weather from Tropical Storm Isaias

Gov. Phil Murphy warned residents Monday that Tropical Storm Isaias will not be just a shore event as it barrels up the eastern coastline.

“Depending where you are in inland New Jersey, you should expect drenching rains through tomorrow, from 3 to 6 inches and winds across many parts that will be gusting in the 40 to 50 mph range,” Murphy said.

Erin Berkowitz expects rising water at her home in Hoboken Tuesday. The flood-prone city’s asked its residents to remain indoors Tuesday and is restricting travel except for essential and emergency workers starting at 5 p.m Tuesday through 5 a.m. Wednesday.

“I think it was last week, or two weeks ago, we had very bad rain and our garage flooded. Luckily our car is fine, but it’s stressful every time it rains,” she said.

In a news conference Monday, Mayor Ravi Bhalla asked residents to move their cars to safety and offered $5 a day parking at three municipal garages. In flood-prone areas the city’s erected protective barricades across certain intersections to keep cars out of potentially dangerous high waters. Outdoor fitness and dining is also banned in Hoboken Tuesday. Bhalla pointed to street flooding that occurred in the city during Tropical Storm Fay in mid-July and warned residents to prepare for rising waters.

“During the previous two storms, we saw a lot of cars getting stuck in the floodwaters, which were impeding emergency services. Our roads, and this is absolutely essential, our roads have to remain clear for police, fire, ambulances and more,” Bhalla said.

It only takes 0.8 inches of rain an hour to flood the streets in Hoboken. Sandbags were already piled up at some locations around the city.

State meteorologist David Robinson predicts Isaias could bring several inches of rain across the state depending on its exact path.

“We’ve got a potentially dangerous situation coming up in the next 24 to 36 hours. It will really center on Tuesday. Perhaps midday through into the evening hours will be the worst,” Robinson said. “We’re not talking anything like a Sandy. We’re talking about several feet of nuisance flooding in areas that normally experience the worst of coastal flooding.”

Shore counties like Monmouth are gearing up in case the storm surges on a full moon tide. Officials expect some back bay flooding and warned businesses about securing outdoor setups.

“We have a lot of businesses that went to outdoor dining with COVID-19, and that meant a lot more umbrellas, plastic tables, chairs, tents, so those things that are wind prone and become projectiles that are unsafe for everybody. We’re asking all our business owners to secure those items after business tonight,” said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.

While Isaias may not be a Superstorm Sandy, the storm could knock out power and isolate residents. They hope this won’t be anything for the record books.

“We stay home when we need to and it’s usually resolved in 24 hours and we get back to normal life,” said resident Kim Hagerty.