Extreme weather, squared: NJ deals with intense heat and flash floods

New Jersey

NEWARK — Parts of north Jersey had two different hazardous weather conditions to deal with on Tuesday, as part of a four-day heatwave in the Garden State.  

For most of the day, a heat advisory was in place for areas of North Jersey.  Then, around 3 p.m., intense thunderstorms blew in, leaving the region under a flash flood warning. That condition was part of bookended water events in communities across the northern half of the state.  

The first water events were at splash parks, as Shay Gray Goodstein said, as she slathered her two toddlers with sunscreen before opening the gate to let them enter the sprinklers in Hamilton Park in Jersey City.

“We had to get out,” Gray Goodstein said.  “It’s too hot inside and it’s too hot outside.”

William Mitchell, 8, was soaked as he played in the water jets.

“It’s really cool,” he said.  

The watery respite was badly needed. PIX11 News recorded a temperature of 89 degrees in the shade, just steps away from the splash park.  

Dani Delutio was at the park, but said that she’d been traveling recently.

“I just came back from Florida,” she said.  “It was really hot there.”

When asked to compare it to Jersey City on Tuesday, she offered a frank assessment.

“The same, actually,” she said. “Very, very hot and humid.”

In fact, on Tuesday in South Florida, where she’d been, the temperature was actually lower. 

North Jersey, unlike South Florida, had a heat advisory, that had been in place since last weekend. 

In Newark, residents like Clarissa Bravo experienced that intense heat firsthand.

“It’s deadly,” she said. “It’s hard to breathe.”

Bravo said that she’s relieved that because her elementary school aged son, Jacob, is doing school remotely, they don’t have to deal with what’s becoming somewhat controversial statewide.

On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy made a declaration about coronavirus protections in school districts across the state.

“School officials are empowered to relax masking among students and staff in their buildings,” the governor said, which allowed individual school districts to  decide if students have to wear masks indoors, in the heat.  

At the Cordero School, in Jersey City, classroom windows were open, due to a lack of air conditioning.  Still, signs showing that masks are required were in place.  

At McKinley Elementary in Newark, masks are also required. Some parents in New Jersey districts that require masks have gone on social media to complain and call for the mandates to be dropped.

However, Abdel Ben Mohamed, the father of a McKinley Elementary student and a teacher himself, said that he favored the mask requirement.

“You should always do whatever it takes to keep them safe,” he said.  “Heat is not going to kill them. The virus might.”

As the heat and humidity built into the afternoon on Tuesday, intense thunderstorms built up.  They ushered in the other water event in north Jersey.  The storms, which lasted from mid-afternoon into the evening, brought so much rain that the day’s heat advisory got replaced with a flash flood warning. 

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