Montclair State University students were welcomed back to campus with thunderstorms, flooding and tornado warnings as a result of Tropical Storm Ida on September 1.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency and urged New Jersey residents to stay off the roads, stay home and stay safe.
Montclair State students living on campus noticed flooding in the dorms. Abbigail Erbacher, a sophomore communication and media arts major, was on the second-floor lobby of Machuga Heights when it started to flood.
“My friends and I were playing air hockey when all of a sudden it started raining inside,” Erbacher said. “We ran to get bins and help the [resident assistants].”
Erbacher said the resident assistants were stressed from trying to handle the flooding and the influx of students seeking shelter.
“The [resident assistants] were stressed but also had tons of people coming in trying to sign in [to their residence hall],” Erbacher said.
Marilyn Remo, a senior communication and media studies major, was forced to pull over on Garden State Parkway South by the Montclair Nutley exit because the road was flooded.
“I haven’t moved since 10 [p.m.], the road is flooded and we are unable to turn around or go anywhere,” Remo said. “I was actually coming from Hawk Crossings and the exit getting into Route 3 was also flooded.”
Gabby Nordstrom, a sophomore sports communication major, was surprised by how severe the flooding was.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be this bad, I was pretty shocked,” Nordstrom said. “It kind of reminded me of a lake, honestly.”
Deputy Chief Kieran Barrett said the Montclair State Police Department is working to help anyone in need of assistance.
“There are emergency workers out all over the state and on our campus as well with our Police Department and we are here to help anyone in need as best as we can,” Barrett said.
Barrett advised students on the best ways to stay safe during the storm.
“The best advice is to stay where you are in a building, do not attempt to walk or drive through flooded roadways and continue to keep informed with weather media and University alerts, emails and website updates,” Barrett said.
He said the police department is taking responsive action to keep students safe. He also encouraged any students experiencing water damage to speak to Residence Life staff.
“At this point we have taken the precautionary and responsive action to ensure the safety of our students and [anyone] who is experiencing water damage is encouraged to first speak with their [Residence Life] Staff,” Barrett said.