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Irene: One Year Later

How has the 2011 storm impacted you? Send us your photos and feedback.

Sunday marks the first anniversary of the storm that pulled trees from their roots, flooded streets and cars, decimated homes and businesses and left thousands without power.

After blew through New Jersey in August 2011, Patch was there to cover the hurricane that had been downgraded to a tropical storm.

The impact of the storm and subsequent flooding is still evident in some areas of Union County. In Cranford - one of the most severely impacted towns in the county - 18 houses that were heavily damaged are being elevated to prevent flood waters from future storms from submerging the structures. Some residents are still in the process of rebuilding parts of their homes that were destroyed.

Behind the on Springfield Avenue, trailers continue to serve as a constant reminder of the devastating impact Irene had on the township, which was forced to evacuate it's town hall and police department due to rising flood waters. The lower level of the building remains vacant as township officials work through the process of rebuilding the basement of the long-standing structure.

The storm also impacted several schools in Cranford and neighboring towns. in Cranford was forced to remain closed for six months while the flood-damaged building was repaired and renovated. In addition, the Cranford First Aid Squad Building remained closed for several months until the structure could be renovated due to flood damage.

In nearby Springfield, residents and community groups continue to clean up the areas of town that were impacted by Irene. In April, the town held a Clean Community Day to help clean the neighborhoods and open spaces in the areas that were hit hardest by the flooding that followed Hurricane Irene.

In Clark, which was chosen to host a Red Cross shelter during and after the storm, several residents recently graduated from the township's Community Response Training Program, aka CERT. These volunteers will be on hand in the event of an emergency situation such as the once caused by Hurricane Irene. many of the 2011 CERT graduates were involved in relief efforts following last year's storm.

In total, more than 2,000 homes in the Union County area and neighboring communities were impacted by the storm. The first floors of several hundred homes were ruined. There was more than $75 million in property damage throughout the . Shortly after the flood waters receded, a Mayors Council on Rahway River Watershed Flood Control formed to tackle the issue of flood control from a regional standpoint. Many towns along the Rahway River are involved in these efforts along with county, state and federal agencies.

One year later, we're asking you: Does the storm continue to impact you? What changes did you make in and around your home? Did your business, or neighboring businesses survive the wind and flood damage?

Add photos of your neighborhood from the storm, and photos today so we can see how far we have come since the worst storm since 1985 hit the Jersey Shore.

Leave your comment below, and share your stories and photos about how Irene impacted you and your family.

Derek August 23, 2012 at 02:19 PM
It is certainly still affecting me becasue without any insurance payout, I am still trying to put my basement back together. I've spent about $20,000 and it's not completed yet. I am still disgusted by my OLD insurance company for refusing to pay for anything. At least now I have new, better insurance coverage. Funny, the old company never refused my payment yet the one time I try to collect, DENIED.
Susan Zitofsky August 23, 2012 at 02:48 PM
DITTO to the above poster, Derek. Same here. I just completed repairs on the first floor, one year later. Spent thousands I didn't have and FEMA gave me less than 1% towards damages...same with insurance company. This has been devastating to me and our community.
Doug August 23, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I uploaded the last pic of my backyard in Cranford, as taken by our neighbors that live behind us. I can't believe it's been one year already, seems like it was just yesterday we were clearing everything out of the first floor and putting it onto the front lawn...hopefully will never happen again!
barbara m August 23, 2012 at 04:38 PM
The word "hurricane" brings fear now. Just as my friends' above, my insurance company was less than cooperative. I had to rely on FEMA, and we are still picking up the pieces. The sight and smell of those garbage piles will never go away! Hope it was truly a "500 year" storm!!
Karen Bonacorda August 23, 2012 at 07:33 PM
We are finally finished with repairs to our basement. Along with our neighbors and township officials, untold hours have been spent during the past year trying to make Springfield safer for residents who live in flood zones. So far, this has been accomplished: 1. Two rescue boats received. 2. One outfitted CERT trailer received. 3. CERT team quadrupled in size. 4. De-silting Bills A2111/S98 have been endorsed and petitions sent to legislators. 5. Obtained support of NJDOT for quarterly cleaning of the Route 82 Rahway River Bridge by the Union County DPW. 6. Washington Avenue dike repair completed. 7. Marion Avenue dike repair is underway. 8. De-silting at the end of Marion Avenue waiting for permit approval. 9. Financial support pledged to the water retention program in South Mountain Reservation. 10. Union County All-Hazard Mitigation Plan adopted. 11. Replacement for the Route 82 Rahway River Bridge has been designed and is being pushed forward by state officials and legislators.
IheartCranford August 23, 2012 at 08:43 PM
We got flooded onto our first floor and lost everything after being homeowners for less than a year and 8 months pregnant. We were able to rebuild and received funds just in time for our son to have his first Christmas at the house. It was a devastating time for my husband and I that we will never forget. We like to think we were given this amazing, funny, calm little boy because they knew we couldn't take anymore. We are also fortunate to have some of the best neighbors we could ever ask for as well as other Cranford residents that offered their support. We had an excellent experience with our insurance company and highly recommend switching to Travelers if you can.
Doug August 23, 2012 at 09:06 PM
My wife and I had a baby girl on the 22nd of August, came home the 24th, and then the flood three days later...as bad as the flood was our neighborhood pulled through and it definitely brought us closer together. I do tremble every time I hear the word hurricane and flood, hopefully Isaac blows off to sea...
Anne August 26, 2012 at 01:31 AM
sitting here remembering...stll working on the house...grateful no one died...grateful for the Cranford cops who rescued us, for our dear friends Marge and Kenny who took us in all our family and friends who were there to clean up and help any way they could and our wonderful neighbors, Chuck and Liz who made this bearable.
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