Weather and Natural Disasters

Record-Setting Rainfall Douses New York Area

Marc Santora
Massive flooding on Long Island
Massive flooding on Long Island

A record-setting rainfall that swept through the New York area early Wednesday morning brought down trees, forced some families to evacuate their homes, and flooded major roads and highways, with drivers abandoning their vehicles to escape the rapidly rising water.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Lauren Nash, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said that the total rainfall in Islip, on Long Island, was more than 13 inches by 8 a.m., a daily record. The previous record in the area was 6.7 inches.

The heaviest downpour came between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., when some five inches fell.

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Suffolk County experienced the heaviest rain, but the storm also caused problems in other parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

In Millville, N.J., where nine inches of rain fell, the Red Cross reported that several families had to evacuate their homes after they were damaged in the heavy flooding.

The Long Island Rail Road was experiencing delays of more than 30 minutes, and many drivers simply had to abandon their commutes as flash floods swept across highways. The authorities closed several highways, including sections of the Long Island Expressway as well as the Northern and Southern State Parkways in eastern Long Island.

Aerial footage from traffic helicopters showed about a dozen cars abandoned on the highway near West Babylon. Some of the drivers, surprised by the speed at which the waters rose, had to be rescued by emergency workers in boats, according to the authorities.

The rain was expected to taper off later in the day.

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