The Village of Ridgewood is Flood Prone
Flooding is the most serious hazard for the bergen county area and is a threat across the entire city year-round. A common myth is that flooding only occurs in a creek or river floodplains. Many do not realize that flooding can occur anywhere!
75% of flood fatalities are automobile related!
Never drive around a barricade. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles and SUVs. As little as six inches of moving water can be dangerous.
Factors Associated with Flooding.
Urban and rural creeks run through all areas of Ridgewood creating the beautiful landscape and natural water system. Unfortunately, this means we live in and near their floodplains. A floodplain is the land area these bodies of water will spill over into when it rains heavily. We can’t control a floodplain-- nature wins eventually.
Ho-Ho-Kus Brook & Saddle River River
Both Ho-Ho-Kus Brook & Saddle River River splits the village into three unpassable sections during a flood known as East of Route 17 (Glen School Area), East Central (Travell, Somerville & Hawes) and East CBD (Anything West of Ho-Ho-Kus Brook). Ridgewood OEM has a plan in place to protect residents from Fire, Police and Medical emergencies located within these sections during major floods. Residents residing within the East Central portion are advised that during a flood an island is created between the Saddle River and Ho-Ho-Kus Brook trapping people within this section. There are currently no flood prevention dams within the Village of Ridgewood. Be advised that conditions upstream will always affect portions downstream. Just because there is no flooding or rain in Ridgewood does not mean flooding cannot occur.
Developed areas cannot absorb as much rainfall as a natural area. Water runoff in suburban areas is faster and there is much more of it, creating very dangerous conditions for people, especially drivers. Also, drainage systems can be overwhelmed, causing flooding in areas outside of floodplains.
Hurricanes & Tropical Storms
Ridgewood has experiences multiple catastrophic hurricanes, we are vulnerable to the effects of a dying hurricane or tropical storm traveling inland also.
Before a Flood
To prepare for a flood, you should:
- Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
During a Flood
If a flood is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or television for information.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture.
- Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall.
- If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving.
- Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
Driving Flood Facts
The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups.
After a Flood
The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
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