[Editor's note: This story originally published Monday at 2 p.m. It has since been updated with more information.]
Tens of thousands of residents in Essex County are without power Monday night – but in Bloomfield, the lights are still on for many.
The township seems to be holding its own against Hurricane Sandy, the Category 1 hybrid storm that made landfall in Atlantic City at around 8 p.m.
"The biggest problem that we have is downed trees," said Mayor Raymond McCarthy Monday night. "Knock on wood, we've been pretty lucky so far."
While downed trees have taken out power lines to houses, as opposed to entire blocks, the mayor said no flooding has been reported as of yet because of the storm's minimal rainfall. Fallen trees have been reported throughout town, from Bellevue Avenue to Belleville Avenue and in the Watsessing area.
a tributary of the now-swelling Passaic River, was drained Sunday in preparation of Hurricane Irene, helping to avoid flooding in that area, said McCarthy.
"The rain that's coming in there now is filling up the pond as opposed to flooding the downstream," he said.
The real work, according to McCarthy, will begin Tuesday with the cleanup of fallen trees and broken branches, an effort that will be made easier if residents stay home – and off the streets.
"(Tuesday) is when we're gonna have to assess what damages are and, with these winds, we'll be cleaning up debris and garbage all day," said McCarthy. "Stay home, enjoy the day, enjoy your family. Give us a chance to clean up."
Earlier Monday, some Bloomfield businesses, including Dunkin Donuts on Broad Street and Ricciardi Paint on Bloomfield Avenue, secured their large glass storefronts with tape in anticipation of hurricane-force winds.
Winds gusts as strong as 80 mph have been reported from Maine to New Jersey, according to Weather.com.
Brookdale ShopRite closed at 1 p.m. Monday and will remain closed Tuesday, said owner Neil Greenstein. The store is expected to open for business Wednesday at 7 a.m.
"Our real focus is the safety of our associates, their families and certainly the community of Bloomfield," said Greenstein.
Customers, including some Bloomfield police officers and firemen, trickled through the store early Monday afternoon, grabbing last-minute essentials, like milk, bread and water.
Bloomfield resident Pat Henderson said she was stocking up on food with a short shelf-life in case the power goes out.
"My biggest concern is not having power for a long time," said Henderson, who was picking up salad dressing and lettuce. She said she'd pass the time playing games with her family and taking on small household projects.
Stop & Shop on Frankin Street will stay open until midnight Monday.
Bloomfield schools are closed Monday and Tuesday. Click here for more on how the town is preparing for the hurricane.
Check back on Patch for updated Hurricane Sandy coverage. Got a picture or tip? Send an email to Lia@patch.com.
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