Four homes were reported damaged by falling trees overnight as Sandy–a post-tropical cyclone by the time it roared into town–knocked power out and trees over that resulted in numerous road closings, township officials said early Tuesday. Building inspectors will visit the homes throughout the day, officials said.
And with eight of nine township schools without power, district Business Administrator Aiman Mahmoud said he will recommend to Superintendent Justen Schiff that the district remained closed on Wednesday. He said that decision would be announced later Tuesday, but with the difficulty of determining the actual conditions at the schools, it seemed to be the prudent path to take.
The assessment of the damage caused by Sandy was released during a 10 a.m. conference call with Mayor Carl Suraci, emergency management director John Sheridan, Hillsborough Police Chief Paul Kaminsky, Township Administrator Anthony Ferrara, and Mahmoud.
All township sponsored Halloween activities will be postponed, Suraci said. A decision on the exact date for trick-or-treating will be announced later.
Township employees responded all night to calls for downed trees and power lines that closed roads.
Kaminsky said there have been about 60 road closings all throughout the township, and that they are being opened as fast as possible. He said there is a “rolling list” that is being cleared by township public works employees as fast as possible.
The hardest hit areas are in the northeast, and south and southeast sections of the township.
An active concern, he said, is that 17 traffic signals have been knocked out of service and four other are on flash mode.
In a previous release, the police department said all intersections with traffic signals must be considered four-way stops.
Kaminsky urged residents to stay off the roads. Drivers should not drive around barriers or assume that wires are not live.
Ferrara said the worst of the storm hit Hillsborough between 9 p.m. Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday, with wind speeds measured between 70 and 75 mph.
About half the township is without power, he said. Hardest hit areas are in the south and southeast portions of the township. Some areas north of Triangle Road did not lose power, Ferrara said.
Sheridan said the township’s CERT team supervised the emergency shelter at the municipal complex overnight, but no one used the center. He said the shelter remains open, and they will evaluate the status later.
He said because the municipal building lost power, emergency back-up power was used. Because of the power loss, the township moved the emergency operation to its mobile command center.
The Hillsborough/Montgomery Municipal Court sessions scheduled for Tuesday are cancelled.
Somerset County closed its seven senior centers Tuesday, and Meals on Wheels will not be delivered Tuesday. Recycling pickups in Hillsborough and Millstone are cancelled Tuesday.
Area rivers were flowing faster and had greater depths than before the storm hit, but none were approaching flood stage, according to the National Weather Service at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday.
The Raritan River at Manville measured 6.7 feet. Flood stage is 14 feet. The river hit 41 feet during Hurricane Irene last year.
The Millstone River at Blackwells Mills was at 5.3 feet, with flood stage at 9 feet. At Millstone, the river as measured at 6 feet deep. During Irene the Millstone hit 21 feet.
The South Branch of the Raritan River at South Branch measured 4.7 feet. The Neshanic River at Reaville was measured at 4.1 feet.