Montclair and surrounding towns were slammed last night with torrential rains from Tropical Storm Ida that turned streets into lakes and flooded countless basements as emergency cell phone notifications of flash flood warnings rang repeatedly during the night.

The video below is from a basement flooded on Burnside Street in Upper Montclair:

Treacherous floodwaters made driving dangerous, and in one instance, deadly. There were reports of water rescues in Maplewood, Livingston and a transformer fire on Eagle Rock Avenue that closed down the road and caused power outages. There was flooding in the dorms at Montclair State University. Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair Center was slammed yet again with massive flooding and cars were left abandoned in Bloomfield. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency Wednesday evening and said there have been 81,740 power outages reported and counting.

Lake conditions at Bloomfield Avenue and Park Street in Montclair. Photo: Aminah Toler

Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller posted on Facebook that the Montclair Fire Department will attempt to assist residents with extreme basement flooding, but there may be a wait depending on number of requests (could be hours as they go from location to location).

Montclair Fourth Ward Councilor David Cummings said he has never seen anything like this.

“There’s no way to determine the internal damage to properties. I’m sure it’s significant and it’s going to take a while to determine the extent of damage. I drove around the 4th Ward early this morning and considering the impact this historical storm had on the area, the streets are not bad,” said Cummings. “I’ve received text messages from residents and basement flooding is wide spread. The images on social media are shocking but really do show how bad this was across Montclair. I’m just praying there is no loss of life.”

Montclair Councilor at Large Peter Yacobellis called the situation in Montclair a disaster and started a Flood Disaster Relief Fund on Facebook.

“The flooding is widespread and devastating for the entire town and region,” said Yacobellis. “It is heartbreaking to see so much damage to property, possessions destroyed, cars ruined and to think about the environmental impact of all of the chemicals and debris ending up in the water.”

Yacobelis said private donations are going to be needed to augment government resources to help Montclair residents and businesses recover from the “worst flooding crisis for our town in modern times.”

Yacobellis suggested residents and business owners take photos of any damage to homes, businesses and belongings and to make lists of damaged/lost items as this is typically required for insurance claims and government disaster assistance programs.”

“We are waiting to see what kind of disaster relief may become available from the state and federal governments,” Yacobellis said. “I would assume the Governor is asking FEMA and the White House for a Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey, inclusive of Individual Assistance, which is key for relief for those without insurance. I hope that the President will promptly approve that request.”

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