MOONACHIE, NJ - A huge swell of water swept over a small town in northern New Jersey after superstorm Sandy roared through the state, stranding hundreds of people in their houses and atop mobile homes and setting off a frantic rescue effort, authorities said Tuesday.
No injuries or deaths were immediately reported in the town of 2,700, which is located only about 10 miles northwest of Manhattan.
Local and county authorities said a levee had apparently been breached, but Gov. Chris Christie said a surge of water had overflowed a berm.
Police Sgt. Tom Schmidt said streets were underwater and impassable within 45 minutes.
The floodwaters knocked out the police and fire departments, forcing them to relocate command centers to a business in a neighboring community.
Schmidt said rescuers were having trouble using boats to carry out rescues because water levels were varying from several feet to only inches.
In one trailer park, people were forced to take refuge on their roofs, Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff to the county executive, told The Record newspaper.
Authorities said rescued residents were being taken to a vocational-technical school in neighboring Teterboro.
Moonache is situated near the Hackensack River but authorities could not immediately provide the exact location of where the water came from.