30 died. Streets became rivers. Some survivors remain without their homes. And questions remain on how NJ will handle the next Ida.
opens in a new windowJosh Bakan,Patch Staff
NEW JERSEY — One year ago, the remnants of Hurricane Ida gave New Jersey chaos, loss and displays of selflessness among Garden State residents. Streets became rivers. TD Bank Ballpark opens in a new windowbecame a pond. A opens in a new windowhouse exploded.
Some of the events of Sept. 1, 2021, sound absurd. But a potentially eerier future looms in which storms like Ida, which killed 30 people in the state, pummel New Jersey with greater frequency.
Gov. Phil Murphy stood Thursday in Hillsborough to mark Ida’s one-year anniversary. The storm opens in a new windowkilled two people last year in the township. Murphy noted that storm survivors around the state continue waiting to return home. Ida may have left, but the second-deadliest naturual disaster in state history maintains its grip on New Jersey’s present and future.
“They remind us that the next storm is a matter of when and, sadly, not if,” Murphy said of the state’s most devastating storms: Hurricane Floyd, Hurricane Irene, Superstorm Sandy and Ida. “They each gave us a clearer view into our future that if we do not take strong and decisive steps against climate change, we will unfortunately continue to live these realities.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shows $314.8 million committed to helping New Jersey. The state also received $250 million is disaster loans from the Small Business Administration.
Find out what’s happening in Across New Jerseywith free, real-time updates from Patch.
New Jersey opens in a new windowwill also allocate $228.3 million to help households and municipalities recover from Ida. But the state doesn’t expect to distribute funds to flood survivors until 2023 — well more than a year after Ida struck — according to the opens in a new windowNew Jersey Herald.
One year after Ida and nearly 10 after Sandy, too little has changed, according to the New Jersey Organizing Project — a nonprofit that advocates for the state’s storm survivors.
“Our disaster recovery system is broken,” the organization said on social media. “Many of the problems we saw during Sandy 10 yrs ago are still affecting Ida survivors today. When disaster strikes across the country, survivors are left to fend for themselves. We need a system that works for us – not against us.”
One year later, here are 10 stories of tragedy and triumph when Ida devastated New Jersey:
When a police officer’s cruiser became disabled during a rescue attempt last week, two citizens stepped in to help, and that’s just one scene from the recovery efforts ongoing in the wake of Tropical Storm Ida.
You know a storm is bad when people start describing it as “Biblical.” That’s what one person had to say about the weather that hit Newark Liberty International Airport.
As floodwaters rose around them, 22-year-old Bridgewater native Nick Dirla kept his cool using his humor to keep eight people calm during Hurricane Ida while helping to save their lives.
A house has exploded in Manville and another remains on fire with first responders unable to get to them due to 8 feet high waters.
When Maplewood resident Derek Alfano heard a man screaming “I can’t swim!” while trapped in his car during Tropical Storm Ida last month, he knew he had to do everything in his power to save him. “I was afraid, but I knew I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to him. I couldn’t leave him there,” Alfano said.
Wednesday, Sept. 1 was a quiet day, leading some to doubt the dire forecasts. But around 4 p.m., the storm brought more than 7 inches of rain in a few hours to many North Jersey towns, knocking out walls, flooding homes, and taking lives. In Hoboken, there was no loss of life as there was in other towns along rivers — but there were drivers who had to be rescued from fast-rising waters.
While more New Jersey residents died in Superstorm Sandy in 2012, tropical storm Ida actually caused more immediate flooding deaths in the height of the storm. Tropical Storm Ida caused 28 flash flooding deaths the night it hit, Sept. 1, said Dr. David Robinson, a climatologist professor at Rutgers University.
Hanging out the sunroof of her car as rapids of floodwaters washed her downstream, Jessi Andruzzi thought this was it for her. She thought she was going to die. That was when 19-year-old Devin Arriaga came to her rescue.
The beginning of Atlantic hurricane season and with it the nine-month anniversary of Hurricane Ida hitting New Jersey. But nearly a year after one of the deadliest storms in the state’s recorded history, a group of New Jersey residents in Trenton said they’re still waiting on disaster aid.
Nearly two centuries ago, Morris County’s first Black church came to be. Because of racial segregation, its founders could only build it down by the river, according to Bethel Church Pastor Sydney Williams. Much has changed around Morristown in the nearly 180 years since the church got built. But one thing remained the same, according to Williams: the town hasn’t taken enough action to mitigate floods in the area.