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Heavy rain from Andrea threatens those living along rivers

Posted at 7:20 PM, Jun 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-07 19:20:08-04

(LITTLE FALLS, NJ) – In the midst of packing sand into a sandbag Yonkers resident Jeff Schelgel said what many are thinking on this Friday, “It’s mother nature, you have to do what you have to do when the time comes.”

Schelgel along with his friend Tony DeMasi were preparing for the remnants of Andrea at the City of Yonkers Organic Waste Yard.  The east side of the Westchester county city is accustomed to flooding produced when heavy rains feed into the Saw Mill River.  The river looks non-threatening on most days out of the tear, but after every heavy rainfall, it turns the parkway that bears its name into a quagmire.

DeMasi admits they weren’t there pick up six bags for themselves.  They came for another reason, “We’re down here to help a neighbor out, an elderly lady. She has a little water problem and we’re trying to help her out so it basically stays dry.”

About a forty-five minute drive west the Passaic river was roaring in the New Jersey town of Little Falls.

Cara Maffucci lives upstream from the falls.  She was worried that her family’s home will be affected due to the amount of moisture in the ground already, I’m really concerned just because how much rain has already been happening.”

While showing PIX11 News how the Passaic has been rising a few feet off her backyard, she admits that her fears will materialize once Andrea shows up with fierce and fast showers that will only accelerate the rise of the river, “I mean I really won’t be too concerned until it starts to come up into my backyard,” said Maffucci.

As of Friday afternoon, according to the PIX 11 News weather department, the Passaic river in Little Falls was at approximately 6 feet 8 inches.  Its flood stage is only 7 feet.

Another cause for concern, the town pumps.  If they happen to get shut off, as they did during tropical storm Irene in 2011, then the water will be coming out of everywhere.

This is flooding that Jeremy Figueroa and his family are used to, “Normal flooding will be probably to be about here, no higher than that,” as he points some four feet off the ground on the side of his home.

While there are plenty that still call the area home, they are reminded that the neighborhood isn’t what it used to be.

When asked how many floods they have had in the month of June, Maffucci said, “I don’t think we’ve ever had one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we do.”