MAYS LANDING - Hamilton Township officials stood next to Lake Lenape Monday evening  preparing for the worst - flooding along the avenue that would be the direct result of heavy rainfall from Hurricane Irene and water flowing to the Great Egg Harbor River.

What looked like a giant slip-n-slide along Lenape Avenue Monday night in Mays Landing was actually a makeshift flood control tool.

"There was a lot of rain with Hurricane Irene and rivers flow downstream," Township Mayor Amy Gatto said Monday night. "Our lake is receiving the effects of Hurricane Irene."

Lenape Avenue was closed to vehicular traffic at its intersection with Main Street because township officials wanted to control the flooding as much as possible.

The large tarp would be used to control the direction of the flooding and guide the overflow toward the river, Gatto said.

Bob Mattle, with the township's emergency management office, said officials lowered the lake 63 inches last week in preparation for the hurricane. They were unsure how much the lake would rise as a result of the storm.

"That gave us a ton of storage capacity," he said.

Mattle said police and township officials have been in constant contact with lake residents and even called for a voluntary evacuation of the lake area in the Weymouth section of the township. Many people chose to stay home and ride out the flooding, he said.

As of 9:30 p.m., the water continued to slowly overflow onto township roads and members of the fire department continued to pump the water in efforts to reduce the flooding.

While rumors swirled Monday night that the Lake Lenape dam was going to break, that information is untrue, county and township officials said.

"I spoke with the county," Atlantic County Freeholder Alisa Cooper said. "Everything is safe although it does appear to be scary."

Contact Caitlin Dineen:




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