Gov. Murphy tours flood damage in NJ with the hope of relief funds on the way

New Jersey

Damage lest from Tropical Storm Henri means cleanup for dozens of families in New Jersey, with the governor touring the wreckage Tuesday.

Darcie Hall’s home is missing its flooring, 4 feet of sheetrock, working electrical outlets, and a host of personal belongings — all destroyed by floodwater from Henri’s weekend visit.

But somehow, Hall is making the best of it.

“It’s stuff. I can replace it all,” she said.

She is one of some 70 families in the quaint hamlet of Helmetta — a small borough in Middlesex County, New Jersey — now displaced from this weekend’s flooding, complements the rainstorm.

The widespread hope was that Gov. Phil Murphy’s Tuesday evening visit will ultimately trigger the release of much needed state-issued emergency financial relief.

“We had 27-inches of water in the house,” Hall said. “You can see the water line on the door here. We will do whatever we can.”

Murphy then left Darcie’s home and spoke with reporters on the way to the local community center where he met with dozens of other residents.

“We’re getting storms more frequently, they’re more intense. This one was a big rainstorm, thank God not a big windstorm. But a big rainstorm means a lot of flooding, and people out of their homes. So we’ve got to update the playbook,” Murphy said.

Helmetta residents understand that — this is the fourth flooding in 20-years for the tiny town, neighbors said.

“I lost my furnace, I lost my hot water heater. There’s a whole bunch of insulation hanging from my crawlspace. We don’t have any electricity, and any gas,” Helmetta resident Annie Dent said.

It’s a community surrounded by a network of streams and ponds.

“We’ve become like a retention pond from the matrix of the waterways — and no fault to anybody,” said Helmetta Mayor Chris Slavicek. “Nearly nine inches of rain fell in a very short amount of time, which is a contributing factor, but this keeps happening.”

Is the repeat flooding discouraging?

Absolutely. But Darcie Hall says her next move involves staying put – and rebuilding.

“I would love to get my house raised,” she said to the governor. “Because I love my house. I love the neighborhood. I love the people.”

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