NEW YORK (CBS 2 / 1010 WINS / WCBS 880 / AP) — Friday morning’s storm caused travel troubles on roads and highways for commuters throughout the Tri-State Area.
But despite the storm moving out of the area, flood warnings were still in effect for urban and small streams.
AccuWeather said Friday night that the weekend is expected to be dry. Saturday’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 66 degrees. Another storm system could creep into the area early next week with rain possible Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Thanks to a steady, driving rain, it was a rough morning commute for drivers everywhere, from the Long Island Expressway to local roads in Sunnyside, Queens to the Bronx River Parkway.
The morning commute was a mess for drivers heading into the city from Westchester County. The Bronx River Parkway literally became part of the Bronx River during stormy weather and heavy rains.
The storm hit Westchester before dawn, and before long, roads in Bronxville were under water.
“It started about 5:00, we got here and we just started clearing the roads out,” Victor Lema, working on one of the many cleanup crews in Bronxville, said.
Some vehicles tried to push through on flooded roads, despite the warnings, and got stuck.
Heavy rain and high winds knocked down trees, leaving a lot of work for cleanup crews to tackle.
“We’re getting down any trees that have fallen, clearing up the catch basins, making sure they’re clear so the water can run off,” Lema said.
The Bronx River was so swollen from Friday morning’s storm that it actually overflowed its banks, flowing out onto the Bronx River Parkway and forcing officials to shut the highway down in both directions.
WCBS 880’s Craig Allen with Weather To Go
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams in Mamaroneck, NY
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond in Little Falls, NJ
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell in Manville, NJ
1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney in Mamaroneck, NY
1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck in Forest Hills, Queens
WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau on the CT Cleanup
WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb on damage in New York City
WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane in Greenwich
Drivers making their way into the city were met with flashing signs, and plenty of brake lights. The bad weather also forced Metro North to suspend service during the morning rush, which made for major delays even hours later.
“I’m trying to get into Manhattan, and it doesn’t seem like the next train is going to come,” White Plains resident Michelle Rooke said.
Berkeley Cooley’s train got halted at Goldens Bridge.
“Train pulls into Goldens Bridge heading south, it stops – first time in decades, probably,” Cooley, of Somers, said.
He and other passengers had to transfer onto trains running on the northbound tracks.
“I’m late for work…not good,” Goldens Bridge resident Corey Smith said.
Children were stranded on a bus Friday morning after it got stuck in rising water during the storm.
The term “taking a dip” was ill-advised for vehicles Friday, especially for the bus in Levittown that got stranded in high flood waters on Loring Road.
It happened at around 8:30 a.m., with two dozen students on their way to school. The bus was unable to keep running as it tried to plow through several feet of water that the storm drains just couldn’t handle.
The bus driver kept his cool and called for help, then waited for the fire department to safely evacuate the children.
“I heard on the scanner that PD had a bus stuck with kids in it over here on Loring Road, and we responded over here to help,” Levittown Fire Department Chief Charlie Giudice told CBS 2’s John Slattery. “They ended up having 25 students on the bus.”
The children were carefully loaded onto a rescue vehicle, which took them off to school.
Not far away, a car and an SUV met a similar fate on a street prone to flooding. Then, on Pintail Lane, a car needed the help of a fire truck to get out of the rising water.
Flooding on the Northern State Parkway at Routes 106 and 107 closed the underpass, creating an enormous backup for traffic headed in both directions.
In Huntington, the flood-prone New York Avenue was under several feet of water Friday morning before it receded. A van was left disabled, needing to be towed by a friend of the driver.
In Queens, flooded streets caused immense problems for drivers.
“I’m valet parking in this neighborhood, and just left and right, left and right, every block trying to get through, trying to find parking. It’s ridiculous,” Richard Osiashvili said.
One driver did manage to find a spot in Fresh Meadows – but not intentionally. Firefighters had to push the stranded van to higher ground.
When drivers weren’t stranded, their trips took longer than expected, even on eastbound lanes headed away from the city, thanks to the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole.
“It’s horrible. At least an hour and a half from Queens,” Luis Luces said. “It’s pretty bad out there.”
“It was a lot of puddles, a lot of traffic, a lot of congestion. I was getting aggravated,” Queens resident Patricia White said.
It was no easier getting around on foot.
“It’s very windy, and I can’t hold on to my umbrella,” Mohammed Samra said. “It’s going very slow.”
Two weeks after tornadoes ripped through the Forest Hills section of Queens, destroying nearly 1,000 trees, this new storm featured some lighter winds but much heavier rain, leaving the shopping district on Austin Street looking like a river, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports.
“I’m just going to grin and bear it,” said one pedestrian. “You’ll dry. It’s water, it’s not going to kill you.”
Near the Queens County Courthouse, cars treaded carefully past a blue sedan that appeared to be stranded in the middle of the street. It turns out, though, that the Nissan Altima was really parked, and the water around it was so deep that people couldn’t see the raised sidewalk.
Just as quickly as the weather system blew through, it’s gone. The good news is that the flood waters look to be receding just in time for what will hopefully be a smoother commute home Friday evening.