- The Washington Times - Friday, September 3, 2021

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday that all 25 deaths in his state from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida were due to flooding, and everyone hit by tornadoes managed to survive.

Tornadoes touched down in the southern county of Gloucester, defacing homes in towns that don’t usually see that kind of thing.

“As awful as that was and destructive as that was — and I visited with some of the families yesterday — everyone went down to the basement, and they lived,” Mr. Murphy told NBC’s “Today Show.” “All of these deaths are related either directly or indirectly to flooding and water, either in cars or homes and it’s an absolute tragedy.”

Mr. Murphy said people generally immediately heed tornado warnings but are less concerned about flooding.

“Too many people, sadly, when they hear flooding, they think, ‘You know what, it’s water, I can deal with it,’ ” said Mr. Murphy, a Democrat who faces reelection this year. “And bless their souls, we’ve got 25 people who tried and lost their lives. ”

He said that with at least six people still missing, the toll would likely rise again.

New Jersey was among a cluster of states that saw a month’s worth of rain within a few hours late Wednesday, leading to historic flooding. New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania also reported deaths.

“While the weather may be good, while the floodwaters may have receded, we’re still not out of the woods. We still have a lot of damage that we’re dealing with, we still have floodwaters that are significantly higher than normal,” Mr. Murphy said. “We’re going to clean up and we’re going to stay together and we’ll get back on our feet. But it will be a long road.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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