BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Heavy rain made its way across the Tri-State Area Thursday morning, causing a wash-out of roadways and making for a soggy day from northern New Jersey to eastern Long Island.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the torrential rains shut down major highways around midday on Long Island. The Sagtikos and Sunken Meadow state parkways were left submerged.
“We had a flash flood, which I’ve never been in,” said motorist Elise Banks.
“It was coming down – there’s floods all over the place,” another driver said.
The underpass at Sunrise Highway and Hubbards Path in Babylon also flooded so quickly that Kathleen Martin and her father feel lucky they didn’t get stuck in their truck, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
“We were coming off Hubbards and he screamed ‘Don’t go in the water!’ It was 2 1/2 feet of water,” she said.
The car in front of Martin did get stuck and Banks, who was behind the wheel, had to be rescued when her engine stalled.
“The water came up because you can see I’m wet. So it came probably right to my dorsal here,” Banks said. “That’s very scary and I thank God for the good Samaritan that came and got me out of the car.”
It took a good Samaritan to help Banks to safety. And with more than two inches of rain dumped in under an hour, tow truck drivers responded to a flood of rescues.
“Cars stuck, people stuck, you know, Nassau’s finest; Suffolk’s finest going and helping everybody,” said tow truck operator Rob Scharf.
Jeanette Grosso also found herself stranded on an entrance ramp, surrounded by waters too deep to get through.
“I’m going onto the ramp to go onto the Southern State and all of a sudden, my car gets stuck; my car turns off,” Grosso said.
From the Sunrise Highway on the South Shore of Long Island to the normally flood-resistant Long Island Expressway Service Road on the spine of the island, drivers said they were caught by surprise and paid the price.
“The water was very high,” one woman said. “I thought it’s OK, like you know, I can cross over, but IU came here. It suddenly stopped.
“It soaked my engine, so that’s why I turned off,” added driver Nick Fisher. “It doesn’t want to turn on now.”
And Jordan Lobo from Bay Shore got stuck blocks from home, where more than two inches of rain fell in under an hour. His advice to drivers in such conditions was simply, “don’t go out.”
As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, floods were not the only problem and it wasn’t only the roads that were affected. A Baskin-Robbins in South Farmingdale, employees rushed to make sure the ice cream didn’t melt after a power outage.
“”We lost power for about two, three hours, so I had my generator running for that long,” said Vincent Icart of the Baskin-Robbins.
The power outage during the storm also knocked out traffic signals.
And in Massapequa Park, crews pumped water and cleared debris from a sump on Front Street that Sal Balestrieri said has been overflowing into people’s homes for 25 years.
“The water comes up in your basement,” Balestrieri said. “Last year, I was away. It cost me $10,000. I lost a furnace and a hot water heater.”
Because of dry conditions, the ground soaked in the rainwaters quickly — so much that the flooding quickly receded. There was no estimate on how many cars would need new engines on Long Island.
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Meanwhile in New Jersey, the downpours along the shore late Thursday morning were too much for storm drains in Asbury Park, Bradley Beach, and Spring Lake, CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported,. Officials in Ocean Township and Neptune tweeted out photos, warning drivers not to drive through the waterlogged intersections.
In Neptune City, Route 35 and Third Avenue turned into a lake. Vince Campanile co-owns The Ice Cream Shoppe, 43 Route 35 North, which got flooded.
“Water always backs up here all the time, but today was a little worse than normal,” he said.
Campanile said the garbage in the storm drains didn’t help.
“I just wish the engineers could figure out a way to avoid it altogether – you know, more drains in the intersection or a better way to get the water out,” he said. “Even moderate rains won’t cause me a problem, but it’ll put the intersection where no traffic can get through.”
The intersection was passable once more late Thursday, and the flooding inside the shop wasn’t anything a mop couldn’t handle But The Ice Cream Shoppe had to put out sandbags here as its staff braced for the next round of downpours.
A few miles north in Deal, Route 71 took much longer to drain as water backed up into the yard and driveway of a seasonal home.
“The problem is the brook that runs down toward the ocean, and the borough of Deal — they refuse to clean it out,” said homeowner Randy Kosman, who lives across the street from the home.
Kosman, who declined to appear on camera, said heavy downpours take all day to drain away.
“And this has been going on for at least 20 years now,” said Kosman, adding that the problem gets worse with more development.
The storms on Thursday brought a tree down onto the roof of a car in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The limb severely damaged the car’s roof, shattered the windshield, and left debris all over the hood.
The driver was not injured.
A tree limb came down on a car in Flatbush, Brooklyn on Thursday, Sept. 10. (Credit: CBS2)
The weather also caused severe problems at the three major Tri-State Area airports. Flights as of 5 p.m. were delayed about three hours at LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports, and four and a half hours at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
A flash flood watch remained in effect until 6 a.m. Friday for Nassau and Suffolk counties. Heavy rain was expected to continue in some areas through the night, CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.
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