Hurricane Sandy has left most of Newark dark Tuesday afternoon, after the super storm ravaged the city, leaving behind exploded transformers and a mess of downed trees and wires.
Currently, 95 percent of residents in Newark are without power and PSE&G crews are working to fix substations by midnight or later, city officials said Tuesday afternoon. That will help reenergize power lines, though many are down across the city.
Though power outages are spread across the city, the hardest hit area was likely the East Ward, which suffered severe flooding in addition to loss of electricity. The worst flooding was reported in low-lying areas of the East Ward around South Street and also in the South Ward around Frelinghuysen Avenue, city officials said.
An abandoned structure at 295 Grove St. also collapsed during the storm, officials said.
More than 100 people have sought shelter at John F. Kennedy Center on W. Kinney Street, according to city officials. The center is providing residents with cots, food and also a place for their pets in the mobile pet hotel outside the rec center.
Rescue crews were inundated Monday night with emergency calls during the peak of the storm. Five feet of floodwaters made is nearly impossible to rescue several residents from their Ironbound homes. East Ward streets, including South Street and Raymond Boulevard, were flooded for most of the night before the water receded around midnight.
Newark Light Rail tunnels, as well as New Jersey Transit rail station hubs at Newark Penn Station, reported flooding, NJ Transit said in a press release.
Like much of the city, residents in the West Ward are busy cleaning up debris from the hurricane and reporting downed wires. Traffic lights along South Orange Avenue are currently not operating but police are on hand to direct traffic, Rice said.
"We weren't as bad in the west as the other wards, from what I'm understanding," said Councilman Ronald C. Rice, who represents the West Ward.
Residents living on flood-prone streets in the West Ward had been urged to evacuate, though flooding hardly became an issue in the ward.
But Rice said his main concern is restoring power to three of senior citizen homes in his ward. He said though he believed his ward fared better during Hurricane Sandy than Tropical Storm Irene, "at the end off the day, I think this is an episode that's going to last a lot longer than Irene."
Officials warned residents of continued areas of power outages, even after some power is restored, and, most importantly, to stay away from potentially live downed wires. Report downed wires to PSE&G by calling 800-436-PSEG.
Residents can also call the city's non-emergency line at 973-733-4311 or 973-733-6000.
Enormous branches fell across the city, blocking roadways and snapping power lines. In the North Ward, a telephone poll appeared to have crashed into several Bloomfield Avenue stores.
Officials also assured residents the water is safe to drink.
All Newark Public Schools will remain closed Wednesday.
In an email early Tuesday morning, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. asked residents to stay off the roads because traffic signals were not working and "will be out for quite sometime." He said Newark police and fire crews, as well as PSE&G, were busy clearing roadways and downed power lines across the city.
Mayor Cory Booker lent a hand to residents in need Tuesday morning.
"Delivering some food, water and baby food to folks down here at Riverview court," he tweeted. "Strong community here. Endured a lot of flooding last night."
He also warned drivers against unsafe conditions due to traffic lights not working.
"We are having traffic problems. Traffic lights not working. Do not drive through them as if lights are green. Please use extreme caution," he tweeted.
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