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Council Gets Irene Update

Storm clean up will continue for months.

The numbers are coming in.

During the 72 hours that the remains of Hurricane Irene hit the area, the storm dumped 6.83 inches of rain with winds of 61 mph and brought in a tidal surge of seven and a half feet from the Raritan/South river, said Emergency Management Coordinator Austin Kosik, during Monday’s Township Council Meeting.

While those winds were below true hurricane force winds, the damage was done.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a category 1 storm has winds of between 74 and 95 mph; a category 2 has winds between 96 and 110; a category 3 storm has winds between 111 and 130 mph, and a category 4 storm has winds between 131 and 155.

“We had 400 trees knocked down by the storm…just imagine what we went through with a tropical storm and think about what would have happened with a hurricane,” said Kosik.

According to Township Administrator James White, the township picked up almost 1,500 tons of trash. During the same time last year, the township picked up 870 tons. The township also picked up 1,824 (and counting) cubic yards of brush following the storm, compared with 320 the same time last year.

During the storm, 143 people were evacuated from their storms, with 43 going to local shelters set up at the last minute. The township had planned on using the Middlesex County Shelter plan, but once a travel ban was instituted for the state, East Brunswick had to open its own, one at the Senior Center and two more at East Brunswick Schools. The district also loaned two buses and two drivers to transport people to the shelters, as well as custodial staffs for the schools.

Kosik said the effort to prepare and deal with the storm was a true township-wide effort, with 99 percent of township employees showing up for work during that time (one was away on vacation, he said). From department heads to Crystal Springs employees who were working at the shelters everyone pitched in to help. Volunteers from all three fire districts and the rescue squad also worked tirelessly, sometimes leaving their own families at home and in the dark.

“It was not just an effort in the municipal family, but spread out amongst private and other government agencies,” said Kosik.

Kosik also said the clean up would continue, which is to be expected with a storm of this magnitude.

“The aftermath, recovery phase, is still going on. It’s normally the longest phase, and will go on for months in the township because we sustained a lot of damage to a lot of properties , and we’re looking to get individual businesses and residents help,” said Kosik.

to provide assistance to those who suffered damage from Hurricane Irene. The DRC is located in the Division of Parks building, 334 Dunhams Corner Road, East Brunswick, N.J. 08816 and is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seen days a week until further notice.

If you need to register, you should log on to www.disasterassistance.gov, m.fema.gov or call FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585.  Those with access or functional needs and who use a TTY, call 800-462-7585; or, use 711 or Video Relay Service to call 800-621-3362. Both numbers are available from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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