Four Water Rescues in Princeton as Storm Causes Flash Flooding (Updated)

Valley Road at Route 206 in Princeton. Photo courtesy of Michael Bender.
Valley Road at Route 206 in Princeton. Photo courtesy of Michael Bender.
The pedestrian tunnel at the Princeton Junction train station at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Photo by Gene Gelernter.
The pedestrian tunnel at the Princeton Junction train station at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Photo by Gene Gelernter.
The entrance to the Princeton Junction train station. Photo by reader Lauren Frigerio-DiFalco.
The entrance to the Princeton Junction train station. Photo by reader Lauren Frigerio-DiFalco.

A heavy storm hit the Princeton area on Saturday afternoon, flooding numerous roads and making driving conditions dangerous. A flash flood watch was in effect and has been extended until 10:30 p.m.

The Princeton Junction Train Station is flooded, the canal is flooded, and police in West Windsor said all major roadways are seriously flooded. West Windsor declared a state of emergency just before 6:30 p.m. Motorists must stay off the roads in the township unless travel is necessary. Portions of South Brunswick are also flooded.

Trains to and from New York City are still running, but customers who get off at Princeton Junction may have to go to Hamilton, then take a train back, in order to leave the junction because the pedestrian tunnel is flooded. As of 8:45 p.m. Saturday, passengers said a shuttle bus was being provided by NJ Transit to ferry passengers from one side of the station to the other. The Dinky shuttle is running. Many train commuters who returned to the Princeton Junction parking lot early this evening discovered that their cars were submerged in water and they had to leave them in the parking lot.

Emergency workers and police in the Princeton area scrambled to respond to the high volume of calls Saturday afternoon and evening. In Princeton, four drivers whose cars were stuck in flood waters needed to be rescued. One water rescue was on Alexander Street near University Place and another was on South Harrison Street. Firefighters evacuated a family from their home on White Lane after the home filled with several feet of water. Several businesses in the Princeton area were flooded, including a cafe in West Windsor. The Monmouth Mobile Home Park is flooded in South Brunswick.

The Princeton Public Library is closed because water is coming in on the first floor and the community room is flooded. jaZams toy store had water issues. The Harry Potter release party was moved to Labyrinth Books on Nassau Street. A video of the water reaching the library can be seen here. (courtesy of reader Suzanne Alley Franzino). Witherspoon Street, Hinds Plaza, and Spring Street all flooded. The Spring Street Garage flooded and water levels reached the top of tires on some cars that were parked on the lower level and would not start up.

Road Closures

Franklin Corner Road, County Road 605 (River Road) south of Bluespring Road, Alexander Road, Route 206, Harrison Street South, Mercer Street, Princeton Pike, Hamilton Avenue, Nassau Street, Dodds Lane, Sycamore Road, Canal Pointe Boulevard, and several other area roads are impassible. Quaker Road is completely submerged, readers said.

The Griggstown Causeway is closed.

Route 1 is flooded all the way from Finnegan’s Lane to Scudders Mill Road. Route 27 is flooded in several spots, including Kingston. One reader said the area near Eno Terra in Kingston was like a lake as of 5 p.m. Washington Road is closed at the tennis center in West Windsor and other sections are also impassable, police said. Police confirmed Quaker Road is closed and River Road is closed from Princeton-Kingston Road to the Montgomery border.

South Brunswick Police provided an update about conditions there at 10 p.m. Saturday night. At least 20 vehicles were towed from the Route 1, Route 522, Deans Lane, Summerfield Development, Raymond Road and Route 27 due to the flooding. There were no injuries or evacuations as a result of the flooding.

Engineers from the New Jersey State Department of Transportation say the water on Route 1 will not subside until Sunday morning. The highway is not expected to open until that time. Route 1 north closed at Ridge Road and Route 1 south is closed just past Raymond Road.

Deans Lane is closed between Blackhorse Lane and Georges Road. Mapelton Road is closed at the Plainsboro Township border.

Route 1 is flooded near Dow Jones. Deans Lane is flooded at the railroad underpass. South Brunswick residents looking to travel north and south should avoid Route 1 and take Route 130 or Route 27.Residents looking to travel east and east can use all routes with the exception of Deans Lane, according to the South Brunswick Police Department.

Between five and six inches of rain fell in the Princeton area within three hours late Saturday afternoon.

If you see standing water, turn around. Don’t drive through it. Police are urging residents to stay home and not attempt to cross flooded roads. Stay in of you can.

Several motorists reported to Planet Princeton that they tried to make it back home as the rain started, but the roads flooded so quickly that many were impassible. Some drivers gave up and pulled over.

One reader was trying to head home to Princeton from MarketFair, but ended up having to take Route 1 north to avoid flooding. Cars were stranded on the jughandle at South Harrison Street because of flooding, so she pulled over at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro to wait out the storm.

“The rain is still torrential here with no periods of slowing down at all,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Email your storm pictures, videos and stories to editor@planetprinceton.com. We will update this story with more information and photos.



Photo of Route 206 by reader Nika Tagieva.
Photo of Route 206 by reader Nika Tagieva.



    1. Really? I hate to break it to you but it’s rained over the centuries and, at times, heavily.

        1. I’m not. That’s sort of my point. There’s no way to establish that yesterday’s storm was caused by climate change. This was not a rare weather event.

          But perhaps you want to give it go.

          1. Climate change is real and caused by human activity but these heavy rains do not prove climate change. This is weather, it may or may not be caused by climate change.

            1. Okaaaay. But, I didn’t say anything about climate change being real or not. I’m not a scientist. With respect to the rest of your reply, we seem to be in agreement. Thanks chief.

              1. Recent regional weather events cannot be directly linked to climate change.. that’s true. Students learn in basic physics that certain gases ( like CO2 for example) trap infrared radiation. Infrared radiation is experienced as heat. Scientists gave the name “greenhouse” gases to heat holding gases in the atmosphere, because of this warming effect. Accurate analyses of global weather records over time indicate a warming trend in global temperatures overall. People concerned about loss of certain habitats & environments worry about the human contribution of “greenhouse” gases to the global atmosphere from such things as industry & transportation. They share their worry because the one factor we humans have any control over with regards to warming the atmosphere is our own behavior. People can change their choices & activities to impact the human part of the greenhouse gas emission equation (if they want to). As recent flooding indicates, we cannot control the weather.

  1. Now just imagine 40 days & nights of rain. That isn’t even the bad part, it would still take an awful lot longer to subside. Hmmm ? As everyone’s favorite comic commented “How long, can you, tread water ? Heh heh heh !!!”

  2. If you all read the latest science, “can’t argue with science” man made climate change “the original name” is a scam and dumb people fell for it. If your old enough we have seen all this before. Fight for something worthwhile, TERRIOR , COMMUNIST CONTROL BY THE NICE WORD “LIBERIALS”

  3. Weather changes daily, the climate does not. If you have a scientist who can demonstrate that the highest concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in researched geological history does not cause more extreme weather then prove it. The burden of proof is on those interested in continuing dumping carbon into the atmosphere.

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