Wednesday, October 31st
Even 36 hours after the peak of the storm Hoboken was awash in water – salt, rain, sewage and various fuels and automotive liquids all sloshing around the town. While a flood pump had been installed here just over a year ago, the capacity of the pump is 85 million gallons per day. Because the pump discharges in the river below the surface of the water, it cannot pump against an incoming tide. Estimates at the time were that Hoboken had 500 million gallons of water above ground at the peak.
Apart from the ironic name of this pub (where kids used to eat free on Mondays) already a slick and oily residue is visible on the street as the flood waters recede.
At this point the main table in the command center still looks very organized. Here CERT volunteers including Team Leader Maggie and Mary staff the Phone Bank, which fielded thousands of inquiries ranging from “Is it safe?” to emergency medical calls. To Mary’s left the Emergency Services reps shared the table, and to Maggie’s right across the room the Ambulance/Emergency Dispatch was located next to National Guard dispatch. At this point phone lines are done, cell phone service is not even spotty, and only radio communication is reliable. Unfortunately one of Hoboken’s radio repeaters was already damaged and unusable.
With power out all over Hoboken even the Command Center ran on an emergency generator. Here extension cords descend from the 2nd floor. Sometimes the exhaust from this diesel machine drifted into the building, making a difficult set-up that much less pleasant. Later in the week as the temperature dropped it brought cold air into the unheated work spaces inside.