Frenchtown Flood of 2004 September 18-21, 2004 reports

My wife and I passed through Easton, 20-30 north, at 8 pm Saturday evening. The bridge there was closed and the city was beginning to flood. We gave up plans to come home along 611 and headed away from the river to return to Frenchtown. When we got back to town, we drove down to the bridge to see how high the river was. Here's what we found at 9 pm Sat, 3 am Sunday, 3 pm Sunday afternoon, then Monday and finally on Tuesday, when I went back into town in search of a missing back porch..

  • Page 1: 9 pm Saturday. the water is still rising; predictions dire
  • Page 2: 2-3 am Sunday morning - higher water - the scene at the bridge
  • Page 3: 2-3 pm Sunday afternoon - flood crests and subsides, leaving Frenchtown with only a dozen or two homes flooded.
  • Monday - cleanup begins
  • Tuesday "Mike, I found your back porch."
Stories in preparation
  • House loses foundation
  • The Floating Barbeque
  • Saving Red & Redder
  • Floodgates for Frenchtown?
  • Boat hung up on bridge pylon
  • Photos of some newspaper articles

Other Reports:
Debris at Bridge Sunday

Debris builds up against the bridge piers on Sunday. There's a boat in there, beneath the tree trunks.. with a large motor still attached... and a lost duck decoy, nestled among the branches.

Old Bridge photo from Frenchtown Cafe
Old Frenchtown Bridge Photos can be seen at the  Frenchtown Cafe on Bridge Street.
Water Levels at Riegelsville. ----

While Riegelsville's a bit north of us, the chart to the left pretty well reflects conditions at Frenchtown during the flood. The water crested lower here, but our flood stage is lower as well. The curve pretty well describes conditions here...


Riegelsville Bridge at flood
See Kathleen Connally's photo of the Riegelsville Roebling Bridge as the flood crested Saturday.

N.J. Ivan price tag reaches $32.5M

Frustration expressed at what some see as a delay in declaring state a federal disaster area.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
The Express-Times


Damage in Hunterdon County is estimated at a comparatively minor $884,400, but officials there say they remain hopeful the county will be eligible for aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Belvidere Mayor Charles Leigel expressed frustration at the federal government's response to Gov. James E. McGreevey's request for federal aid. He said the delay is especially difficult to understand because President Bush immediately declared a disaster in parts of Pennsylvania.

"My people who are flooded out look across the river and see a federally declared disaster area," Leigel said. "My constituents are frustrated. I'm frustrated. This is crazy."
"I would hope that the president sees a need and signs a declaration," he said. "We have a lot of people who have a need and could use the help."

FEMA spokesman Kevin Galvin said New Jersey damage assessments are being reviewed by the agency's staff in Washington, D.C. Galvin said there is no way to say when FEMA will make a decision.
"We just don't know where we stand in Hunterdon yet. If they classify the whole thing as a regional event, we may be included in that," Shepherd said.

The worst flooding in Hunterdon County occurred in Frenchtown and Lambertville and Holland and Kingwood townships. In those areas, 135 homes were damaged by the flood.
the Red Cross is also soliciting donations to help defray the cost of its flood response. People seeking help or to make a donation can call 866-GETINFO.

People who experience problems with their insurance company, such as a failure to respond to claims, should report the company to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, Shepherd said. Additional information for Hunterdon County residents whose homes were flooded is available on the Internet at

Reporter Peter Hall can be reached at 610-258-7171 or by e-mail at