Flooding Information

Why Does Hoboken Flood?

Hoboken was once an island, with tidal lands to the west. Today, some areas of Hoboken still lie near or below sea level. When heavy rain coincides with a high tide of the Hudson River, water cannot drain into the river, causing some streets to flood. A flood pump was recently completed by the North Hudson Sewerage Authority which will allow for expelling water into the river, and it is expected to alleviate, although not eliminate, flooding.

Residents parked on the street during the day are encouraged to monitor weather reports and move vehicles from flood-prone areas if there is the potential for flooding. Vehicles in these areas can suffer severe damage as a result of flooding.

Below is a tide chart for the Hudson River just north of Hoboken (Weehawken) and a map of typical storm flood zones and street barricade locations. The chart indicates the times for low and high tide.

The map to the right indicates areas that most frequently flood during heavy rains during high tide as well as common locations of barricades used to close streets. Actual flooding will depend on the weather and other conditions and may include other areas not included below.

Residents concerned about potential overnight flooding are reminded that overnight parking from 8pm to 8am is available in Municipal Garages B and D and Midtown for $5. Regular garage fees will apply during the day. At times, the City will provide free or reduced parking in certain garages when there is the potential for flooding. To receive these notices, register for the Nixle alert system by visiting www.hobokennj.org/alerts.

Best Available Flood Hazard Data

The known flood risk has changed since the last effective community Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for many communities in New Jersey and New York. Before Hurricane Sandy, FEMA had begun a coastal flood study to update Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for portions of New York and New Jersey using improved methods and data to better reflect coastal flood risk. After Sandy, FEMA released Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE)information based on the partially completed flood study for certain communities which were designed to help in rebuilding and recovery efforts. FEMA has released preliminary work map data for Atlantic, Hudson, Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey and New York City which supersedes the Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) information previously released.

The preliminary work map data is based on the same underlying data as the ABFE information, but includes the results of a more refined analysis of shoreline conditions, including the effects of erosion and wave runup. The preliminary work map data is a “draft” product that FEMA is sharing in advance of the upcoming release of the preliminary FIRMs. The preliminary work map data will replace the ABFE information (where applicable) as the best available flood hazard data until the release of the preliminary FIRMs. Until preliminary work maps are released for a community, ABFE information (if available) will continue to represent the best available flood hazard data in those areas. In areas where no ABFE or preliminary work map information is available, the current effective FIRM should be used.

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What is the City doing about flooding?

Hoboken’s first flood pump was completed in early 2012.

On May 15, 2013, Mayor Zimmer announced a partnership with North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA) to build Hoboken’s second wet weather flood pump in order to further alleviate Hoboken’s 200 year flooding problem. The City and NHSA will work together to apply for a low interest $9 million loan from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust. The City would pay for and own the pump, while NHSA has agreed to pay for the engineering, permitting, loan application preparation, and operations and maintenance, a contribution estimated at nearly $5 million over 20 years. The pump, with a capacity of 50 million gallons per day, would further alleviate flooding in Western Hoboken.

Hoboken was one of 8 cities nationwide selected as a partner for the RE.invest Initiative, an effort funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to help cities develop resilient urban stormwater infrastructure systems. Click here for more information.

In addition to pursuing the installation of the second flood pump, the City is supporting the North Hudson Sewerage Authority’s Hazard Mitigation funding application for additional pumps. The City has also submitted its own grant applications for Hazard Mitigation funds to acquire land for three parks in western Hoboken. Hoboken was awarded a technical assistance grant to study the feasibility of building large underground detention basins under these parks to store stormwater runoff. Similarly, Mayor Zimmer has suggested to NJ Transit that the agency consider converting the Long Slip Canal just south of Hoboken Terminal into an additional stormwater detention system.

During Hurricane Sandy, Hoboken flooded because the storm surge caused the Hudson River to flow into the City from low lying areas in the south, including through the Long Slip Canal, and from the north. The City has applied for $44 million in Hazard Mitigation funding for a system of flood barriers, berms and gates at the north and south to protect the city from future tidal surges. The City is working to have its plan incorporated into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regional study. If a flood protection plan receives the approval of the Army Corps and the City is designated a “Shaded X” area, property owners in that area will no longer be required to purchase flood insurance.

Hoboken was one of three recipients of a grant from Together North Jersey for technical assistance to develop a Green Infrastructure Strategic Plan. The plan will develop stormwater management and flood control strategies, strategize key updates to the aging water system, look for ways to improve the resiliency of transit infrastructure, and identify important steps to help plan for climate adaptation. Through the Planning Board and input from the public, the City is developing a sustainability plan (Green Building & Environmental Sustainability Plan Element of the Master Plan) that will provide guidance for stormwater management, utilities, infrastructure and other sustainability priorities.

In addition to applying for funding that would enable the City to create detention systems under newly purchased open space, the City is pursuing a variety of other green initiatives to address flooding. Hoboken was recently awarded a grant to install rain garden curb extensions to capture stormwater runoff and has incorporated rain gardens in designs of new parks. The City legalized the use of rain barrels in 2011 and has required the use of green roofs in redevelopment areas to minimize runoff. The Shade Tree Commission completed a pilot program to expand tree pits and install new street trees along Washington Street between 1stStreet and 2nd Street, setting standards for other property owners. The Commission will launch a program to encourage more property owners to install street trees, which play an important role in reducing stormwater runoff.

Request Cleanup

After flooding subsides, there may be sludge remaining on streets and sidewalks. You may use the form below to report problem areas and request cleaning. You may also call the Department of Environmental Services at 201-420-2049 or the North Hudson Sewerage Authority at 201-963-6043 to request clearing out catch basins.

Hudson River Tide Chart