Things just kept getting worse after we left

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

Last week I told you about our return to Suffolk following a weekend in western New Jersey visiting friends, and how we were stopped for three hours due to a wreck in Pennsylvania and then hit heavy rainfall for most of the remainder of the trip.

Well, two days after arriving home my friend Mike called and said two words that sent chills through my spine – “We’re flooded.”

Mike and Sissy and their three children, James, Hannah and Raymond, live along the Pequest River in Belvidere, N.J., not far from Phillipsburg, N.J. and Easton, Pa.


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The Pequest is a beautiful river, full of trout and flowing through the small town, occasionally giving way to a waterfall, all adding to the charm of the community.

Their little town is as beautiful as you could imagine. It’s almost Norman Rockwell-like with the old stately homes, the tree-lined streets and parks.

And that little river behind their house is one to behold. I’ve actually fished it. And even had some success.

But when heavy rain comes, the river gets angry.

They also live just a stone’s throw from the Delaware River.

What normally happens when it rains, as it did last week, the water table rises and the Yeley’s basement begins to flood.

Mike said this was the worse he had ever seen (they’ve been through three or four of these events). This time the water was all the way up the basement stairs and was threatening to enter the house.

Once the water table gets so high, the surface begins to flood. And living so close to the river – see photo this page – it doesn’t take the water long to reach their house and surround it.

And all the while the Pequest is rising, the Delaware is pushing more water into it, much more than it can hold.

They have tried to pump it out of their basement in the past, but it is an exercise in futility. The water comes in faster than it can be removed.

They have had to evacuate their home on at least one occasion that I know of, which means taking the kids to a local motel and making the best of it there.

I don’t know exactly how things are going with them today. I spoke to Mike last week and haven’t heard from them since. I did get some digital photos, so we know they have their power back on now.

But we don’t know how much the water rose inside the house, or on the outside and then seeped in.

I did see photos of furniture piled on top of other furniture, so I assume they were expecting it to come higher than ever before.

I freak out whenever there is a little leak in the pipes under the sink. I could not imagine my reaction if water came pouring across the threshold of my home.

It’s times likes this that my little issues with my life pale in comparison to what they are experiencing. I don’t know how they do it. But they get the water out and clean everything up. And then they wait for the next heavy rain.

I don’t think I could do it.

Grant is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact him at or 934-9603