Contact: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

Up to 4 inches of rain predicted by Sat., March 8

TRENTON, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is urging residents to use caution and avoid traveling, if possible, during heavy rain predicted tonight into tomorrow.

The National Weather Service is predicting that severe rain beginning in the early evening tonight could trigger flooding along the Delaware River and its tributaries. According to the latest information from the National Weather Service, between 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches of rain is expected to fall tonight accompanied by 30 to 40 mph winds. The second wave of the storm Saturday carries the potential for another one to two inches of rain.

Mercer County and its Office of Emergency Management are actively monitoring weather predictions and conditions of the Delaware River.

"Our Office of Emergency Management has been working closely today with the State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, municipal OEM coordinators, and the National Weather Service to determine a course of action should flooding occur," said Hughes. "As of this afternoon, the Delaware River is expected to crest Sunday at 1 p.m. at a level of 21 feet.  While that is one foot above flood stage, at the present time we expect only localized flooding along some streams and creeks and possibly flooding of the New Jersey State House garage. We will continue to monitor river levels hourly."

Hughes said residents should treat the severe rainstorm as if it were a snowstorm and be prepared with plenty of food, water, and appropriate medications as a precautionary measure. Residents should also monitor news broadcasts often, he said.

This afternoon, law enforcement officials from Trenton, Hopewell Township, and Ewing Township met to determine which roads, if any, would be forced to close due to flooding or fallen trees. It has been determined that if Route 29 is forced to close, State and local Department of Transportation teams will set up detours and law enforcement will be deployed to direct traffic.

Mercer County T.R.A.D.E buses are on standby to deploy to flooded areas in the event that evacuations are necessary, Hughes said.

The storm is not expected to produce the flooding and subsequent damage to property seen in April 2005, when the Delaware River crested at 25.33 feet, and in June 2006, when it crested at 25.09 feet, according to emergency management officials.

Still, Hughes urged residents to use caution.

"Nothing is more important to this administration than the health and welfare of our residents," Hughes said. "We will continue to communicate with the State of New Jersey and City of Trenton to ensure that our citizens are prepared, informed, and safe."