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Stay Home Today, Please (First Responders Still Rescuing the Stranded - Two Deaths in Hillsborough)

By Barbara A. Preston l September 2, 2021

Clearly, first responders are still dealing with widespread flooding of roads in Montgomery and Rocky Hill. Seven cars remained under water on the Route 518 bridge in Rocky Hill at 9 am this morning. The road was closed as of midnight, as former hurricane Ida produced 9 inches of rain in about six hours, according to Rocky Hill Mayor Robert Uhrik.

A Somerset County Nixle alert reported a confirmed tornado "over" Rocky Hill at 7:39 pm on Wednesday — sending many residents to seek shelter in their basements. The key word is "over." Luckily, the tornado did not "touch down." Mayor Uhrik reported "no tornado damage" in his town.

Route 518 Bridge in Rocky Hill on Thursday at 9 am.

Montgomery Township Mayor Devra Keenan declared a State of Emergency for the township at 10 am. "We need to keep people off the streets," she said in a telephone interview. "The rivers and waterways have not crested yet. Also, bridges sustained structural damage and are unsafe."

Montgomery and Rocky Hill first responders worked together throughout the night. Cars were stranded on Camp Meeting Road, near Hollow Road, at 3 am, when the Rock Brook overflowed its banks.

The Millstone River has flooded to its second highest level in recorded history, cresting overnight at 23.4 feet, 13 feet above flood stage.

Keenan also said: "911 is for life threatening emergencies only." First responders are overwhelmed with calls for help, she noted. The Coast Guards and FEMA are pitching in to help. Some towns in Somerset County are worse off than Montgomery.

Also, Montgomery Township's Stage II Sewer Treatment Plant was submerged. Public Works will be assessing the damage.

Dead Tree Road home by the Mill Pond Bridge. The historic stone bridge was totally submerged at 3 am.

Two people died in submerged vehicles in Hillsborough Township on Wednesday night because of the floods, according to fire marshal and a Somerset County official.

Also, a house explosion in Somerville at about 11:30 pm shook homes as far away as Rocky Hill.

In Rocky Hill, the foundation of a home on Crescent Road collapsed—causing the property to be condemned.

A news organization, 101.5, erroneously reported a death in Montgomery Township due to flooding. Montgomery Police Director Jim Gill, who stopped in Rocky Hill to assess the joint Rocky Hill-Montgomery storm response, confirmed the report is incorrect. While there were many rescues, there were no deaths in Montgomery.

"We are still assessing the storm damage," Gill told a reporter from The Montgomery News. "We will be issuing a press release soon." He noted that 11 Montgomery police cruisers were damaged (perhaps beyond repair) in the floods.

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Message from Montgomery Fire Department:

As the sun comes up this morning, we ask that you continue to use extreme caution in/around the Montgomery area. Many roads are still flooded or covered in debris. Please turn around; don’t drown!

Please allow our First Responders to continue to provide critical services without additional traffic on the road. Last night, we successfully conducted dozens of water rescues. While the situations may have been beyond precarious at times, all of our volunteers are able to go home to their families.

Unfortunately, some of our vehicles will not be going “home” quite so soon, but we are okay with this knowing rescues were successful and lives were saved. Through years of preparations and trainings, we were prepared for everything thrown our way. Even after the darkest of clouds, the sun will always shine.


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