UPDATE (5:25 p.m.): Mayor Calls Irene "Worst Storm in History"
Residents and officials are venturing out to assess the damage to Cranford's neighborhoods.
Following the evacuation of the Cranford Police Department due to flooding and a complete loss of power, Mayor Dan Aschenbach called Hurricane Irene the "worst storm in history."
Much of Cranford was submerged Sunday after Irene plowed through the Northeast, flooding towns, toppling trees and power lines and causing widespread damage to homes, cars and property.
As their homes flooded, many residents were forced to evacuate to the temporary shelter that was set up at the Cranford Community Center. A Mandatory evacuation of Cranford's flood zone was issues just after 9 a.m. Saturday morning, but as of about 8 p.m. Saturday night, only about 10 residents had arrived at the shelter to wait out the storm. Today, however, more than 20 additional families had taken up residence there due to flooding in their homes.
Officer Thomas Bell, who was stationed at the Community Center shelter this afternoon, spoke briefly about the widespread flooding and the numerous downed trees and tree limbs.
"It's like driving through a maze," Bell said of the commute through the battered township.
Some residents are also reporting that the Brookside Place School property is also flooded. South Avenue, Centennial Avenue and several other streets were submerged as well.
Currently, there is no word on when residents in the shelter will be allowed back into their homes. Local officials and emergency workers are assessing the damage and working to remove tree limbs from the roadways and secure fallen power lines that may pose a hazard to residents. Many people in the area are still without power.