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RVCC Can be Shelter if it Opens Before Flooding, Chief Says

Bedminster also has a shelter set up in Pottersville.

Bedminster has designated the Pottersville Fire House as a shelter for residents, and is hoping that Raritan Valley Community College opens as a shelter before any flooding occurs in town.

Bedminster Township Police Chief Patrick Ussery said the second county-designated shelter of the Manville VFW is too far for residents.

"We were hoping that RVCC was opening for southern access shelter," he said. "It is natural if it opens soon enough."

"But if it opens after flooding, it becomes nearly inaccessible because of North Branch flooding," he added.

The opening of that site, Ussery said, is a county decision, in coordination with the Branchburg Office of Emergency Management and the college itself.

"I think historically they have to staff it, but we didn't see a lot of use there in the last couple storms," he said. "Historically, our residents more often than not will gravitate toward a hotel or relative before they necessarily go to a shelter long term."

On Sunday, Ussery said, some residents were given notice with a recommendation for evacuation, but it was not a requirement.

"It was not an enforceable evacuation, just a fairly stern warning," he said.

Ussery said that the homes notified were told that if they become isolated in the storm, it will be nearly impossible for emergency services to reach them.

"If you choose to stay in your residence, realize that if an emergency occurs, we may not be able to get resources to you," he said of the homes notified.

Those that received these warnings were dispersed through the nothern part of town in Potterville, on parts of River Road, as well as on Burnt Mills Road near Rattlesnake Bridge Road and Cowperthwaite Road into Branchburg.

As of 11:30 a.m. Monday, Ussery said, there was some rain in Bedminster and the wind was picking up, but there were no power outages or closed roads.

Ussery said there have been isolated incidents of trees down in Bedminster and Peapack at this point.

"But we are in a wait-and-see mode right now," he said. "We are concerned about the development of the storm. We are already experiencing isolated incidents and we're not in the peak of this until 8 p.m. tonight."

For emergencies, residents should call 911. For questions, concerns and other non-emergency matters, residents can call the police department at 908-234-0585.

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