Record-shattering rainfall inundates Long Island, N.Y.
NEW YORK – Some records are broken. Others are smashed beyond belief. The rain that hit the New York City suburbs late Tuesday and early Wednesday clearly fell into the latter category, dumping a remarkable 13.1 inches of rain in just a few hours.
Major highways resembled flooded junkyards as motorists abandoned their cars amid fast-rising water. Rain came down in blinding sheets, filling basements and overwhelming sewage systems. Strangers helped others caught in vehicles and unable to open their doors against the water’s weight.
“It was unprecedented and unpredicted. The size, the event, the scale,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told reporters Wednesday morning.
At least one death was blamed on the monsoon-like weather: a motorist killed in a crash on the Long Island Expressway at the height of the storm early Wednesday. The system that brought the rain has also been blamed for at least two deaths in the Detroit area, which was slammed by heavy rains earlier this week.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware and Virginia also received heavy rainfall, but none were hit as hard as New York’s Long Island, where video and photographs showed vehicles floating down the Southern State Parkway and commuter rail tracks underwater.