Northeast cleans up after record-setting deluge

By Geoff Mulvihill

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Aug. 15 2011 11:00 a.m. MDT

Firefighters look over damage from flooding at Magruder Hospital Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011 in Port Clinton, Ohio. A freak squall that hovered over Port Clinton for nearly four hours Sunday dumped 6 to 7 inches of rain, flooding streets, basements, and H.B. Magruder Hospital, prompting the evacuation of patients to other hospitals in the area after it lost power.

News Herald, James Proffitt, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

BRIDGETON, N.J. — Several states in the Northeast spent Monday cleaning up from a record-setting deluge that closed an Ohio hospital, washed out roads in New Jersey and narrowly spared two New York City construction workers who were rescued from an elevator that had flooded up to their necks.

In southern New Jersey, a dam on Seeley Lake broke Sunday, turning the normally mild Cohansey River into a raging threat racing through downtown Bridgeton.

"These waters were going at least 20, 30 miles per hour," said Martin Ruiz a maintenance worker for a realty company who spent Monday checking on basements of rental properties in Bridgeton. "There were big logs going through there."

The waters stayed a couple feet below the downtown flood walls — a lucky break for the city of Victorian buildings in an area where rain totals were around 11 inches Sunday.

An apartment complex for senior citizens, right by the river, was evacuated Sunday when there were fears river water was going to spill into the city.

Officials in Cumberland County reported that they made four water rescues Sunday.

Sunday's downpours dumped nearly 8 inches of rain at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport — a single-day record.

On Staten Island, two men were moving supplies out of the former Staten Island Hotel when sewer water started flooding the basement.

The men were stuck on the basement elevator and had sewage up to their necks when firefighters arrived to help them out through an emergency hatch, fire officials said.

The Sandusky Register reported that Magruder Hospital in Port Clinton, Ohio, closed on Sunday because water was getting into a room holding the hospital's main power distribution panels. Patients were transferred.

The weekend rains led to a roof collapse in Allentown, Pa., on Saturday night. Thirteen people were evacuated from the apartment building.

The downpours also washed out Sunday's final day of performances at the Musikfest music festival in Bethlehem, Pa. The losses there included African drums that were for sale and more than 1,000 kabobs that were to be sold as a fundraiser for Hogar Crea house, which treats young addicts.

"Basically, we lost everything — the food, the equipment, everything," Ivan Delvalle, director of treatment at Hogar Crea, told The Morning Call of Allentown. "The Musikfest fundraiser usually carries us through the winter. I'm not sure what we'll do."

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AP writer Josh Lederman in Trenton contributed to this article.

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Reach Mulvihill at http://www.twitter.com/geoffmulvihill

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