Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios and the Board of County Commissioners have declared a county-wide state of emergency in response to Tropical Storm Ida.

The declaration, which will make the County eligible for federal reimbursement for extraordinary measures, authorizes the County and its agencies to take the necessary steps to contain, prepare for, respond to, and recover from Tropical Storm Ida. The declaration also allows the County to procure necessary goods or services under contracts not currently available.

“Tropical Storm Ida has severely impacted Middlesex County, causing widespread flooding and storm damage. The safety and wellbeing of our residents is a priority, so we ask that people remain off the roadways, if able, so our emergency crews can continue to respond to those in need,” said County Commissioner Director Rios.

Piscataway Apartment complexes along Route 18 had to be evacuated on Thursday morning as the Raritan River crested around 9 a.m. and flooded Route 18 and the adjacent apartment complexes. Flooding in the Raritan River basin is expected to reach record levels on Thursday, with the river cresting near the levels of Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

Police and first responders helped seniors evacuate from Piscataway apartment complexes Thursday morning. Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler pleaded with residents who live near the river to not stay in their homes and call 911 immediately.”We’re asking all the residents of the Mayflower, Rivercrest and Birchview apartments along the river, if you have not been evacuated yet, do not stay in your apartment,” pleaded Wahler in this 9:45 a.m. emergency video Thursday. “This is not let’s ride out the storm area. The buildings can’t be guaranteed and may be compromised through the electrical systems that are submerged and underwater.

Highland Park residents emerged from the storm without dramatic property devastation and without loss of lives. There were flooded basements, Cedar Lane apartments suffered flooding and have no water, Donaldson Park is flooded and there have been road closures because of sinkholes.

Thursday is the first day of classes for Rutgers but class has been pushed back to 1 p.m. Thursday night’s first Rutgers football game, the season opener, has been canceled. The Rutgers football stadium is located in Piscataway and Piscataway pleaded with Rutgers to cancel the game, saying search and rescues will be underway throughout the day on Thursday.

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