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Clean Up Efforts Underway In Flood Ravaged Parts Of South Jersey

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The damage assessment from Sunday’s storms got underway on Monday. Some areas of South Jersey were hit especially hard, seeing more than 11 inches of rain.

Cumberland County issued a state of emergency on Sunday and it was expected to continue into Monday afternoon.

Bill Whelan, Director of Cumberland County Freeholders, said Sunday’s flood was one of the worst the county has ever seen:

“I’ve lived in Cumberland County for more than 30 years and spoke to people who have lived in Cumberland County their entire life. They have never seen a deluge like what we had yesterday.”

County officials said the flood took out several roads and dams, causing at least 20 road closures.

More than 75 people voluntarily evacuated their homes in Bridgeton.

Helgy Nelson lives on Seeley Lake, where the nearby bridge suffered damage to both sides:

“When I looked out my windows this morning it just…I had to cry.”

County inspectors and engineers were assessing the damage, which Whelan said could be in the millions.

Also hit hard were several communities in Salem County, including Elmer and Pittsgrove.

The afternoon storms that rolled through Salem County brought more rain to an area that has already seen enough in the last 36 hours.

“Some people haven’t had water in their house in 30 years,” said Phyllis Atkinson, “and they got water in their house this time.”

Churning waters flooded one lake after another, a chain reaction that destroyed bridge foundations, and covered roads, flooding entire areas like Parvin State Park.

“The park is just flooded out,” Bonnie Baker said. “Benches are underwater. Trails are underwater.”

Water got into some homes around Palentine Lake as the water levels crested into backyards. The floods became a threat to people and wildlife.

Ron garrison says the waters have receded more than half a foot over Olivet road, but they are still at dangerously high levels.

“We live up the road here and four or five houses took in two feet of water,” says Garrison.

The water levels are slowly dropping back down to normal. County emergency managers say only then will they find out how much damage the flooding did.

Reported by Cherri Gregg, KYW Newsradio; Oren Liebermann, CBS 3

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