DOWNGRADED STORM LEAVES LIGHT DAMAGE

nav-riv-rdA pickup truck drives around a downed tree limb on Navesink River Road in Middletown Sunday morning. Below, Michael and Arnold Natali kayaking behind their home on Queens Drive South, Little Silver. (Click to enlarge)

natalisThat can’t be all there is, can it?

Sure, what used to be known as Hurricane Irene — now a tropical storm, according to meteorologists — was bad as fair as rainstorms go, leaving plenty of downed trees, limbs and wires, and the hazards they present.

Officials in Red Bank and Fair Haven, among other nearby locales, are warning residents to stay away from fallen trees and wires, and to keep their vehicles off the roads until road debris can be cleared.

Low-lying areas are underwater, and Sea Bright, nature’s punching bag, remained closed at midmorning as emergency and utility-company personnel checked for hazards such as gas leaks and stray electrical wires.

But the cataracts of rain, pouring water into our basements by the gallon? The horrific, howling winds shredding roofs? The daylong Cape Fear-style fury?

Feh. Irene went way off script, and hours before the forecasted end of it, locals were out in shorts and tee, enjoying the reprieve.

The Star-Ledger reports that Irene has been downgraded to a tropical storm after claiming at least one life in New Jersey, a woman who was swept away by floodwaters in Salem County.

Also from the Sledger:

In New Jersey, Irene left behind:

-More than 600,000 homes without power.

-Rivers with rising flood waters, and communities that have not yet seen the worst of flooding.

Heavy flooding, or flooding expected, along the Raritan, Passaic and Delaware Rivers. Nearly every waterway in the state is seen as a flood risk.

-Hundreds of roads closed due to flooding.

-15,000 residents still holed up in 45 different shelters.

“Everyone will be fine if we stay at home, we let the storm pass, and we wait to hear an assessment for people when they can go back out,” Gov. Chris Christie said on Meet the Press this morning.

Locally, high water submerged the western end of Locust Avenue, a parking lot outside Oyster Point Hotel and Marine Park, all in Red Bank.

Tree and limbs were down on Navesink River Road in Middletown, and Shadow Lake overtopped its banks, flooding, and closing, Hubbard Avenue.