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Tri-State Area Hit With Flooding, Mudslides Caused By Soaking Rain

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Cleanup efforts continued in force Thursday night, after torrential rain the day before caused major flooding problems and several mudslides throughout the Tri-State area.

Millstone, N.J. got socked with the most rain in the region, measuring 6.22 inches before the deluge let up, CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.

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The New York City Office of Emergency Management said residents impacted by Wednesday’s flooding should contact 311 to report damage to their homes or businesses. New Yorkers can also report any damage at nyc.gov/311.

Wednesday’s wet weather flooded out several basements in Howard Beach, Queens and streets were overcome with water.

One resident told 1010 WINS’ John Montone the flooding left two feet of water in her basement.

“It flooded once before in Hurricane Sandy, but this has been the worst since my parents owned this house,” she said. “Worse than Sandy.”

Another resident said he had up to five feet of water in his basement and garage.

“The water actually came in through my front door,” he told WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs. “It got so high and then we were trying to call up 311 and police to try to have them coordinate off the place because every time a car came through, literally you could take a surfboard out there and surf.”

Others said their basements took on four feet of murky rainwater.

“It just happened so fast, there was nothing you really could do about it,” Howard Beach resident Gilbert Faria told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell. “An indoor swimming pool, that’s basically what it was.”

“With Sandy, we got nothing practically and it’s really devastating to get this much water from a rainstorm,” Karen Faria said. “It is what it is honestly and there’s nothing we can do about it but clean up.”

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection was on the scene Thursday assessing the damage and pumping away the water. Even 16 hours after the height of the storm, a few inches of murky rainwater still flooded some streets, Burrell reported.

“Overall, the sewage system is good in this area but it is very low-lying area and what we get last night was unusual because it was a high tide and a new moon and those two things work together to make it very hard for the drainage to get out,” New York City DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said Thursday.

Metro-North trains were running at slow speeds on the Hudson Line Thursday after the rain caused a mudslide near Yonkers, knocking out a pair of tracks.

Another mudslide on Long Island buried cars in a law office parking lot in Port Washington, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

A 30-foot retaining wall crumbled, burying cars under dirt, mulch and other debris.

“To come to the office and realize that cars were underneath this mud and there’s a mudslide literally going into the office,” Gary Falkowitz told Gusoff. “It is crazy, it’s unexpected. It’s nothing we could have imagined.”

“We did have a significant amount of rain. It really just caused the whole slope there to wash out. Looks like there’s about a six to eight foot area of land that just came down, almost like a sled,” an engineer on the scene told WCBS 880.

Firefighters were digging through the muck to see if anything besides the two cars were buried.

Attorneys said the steep slope and the 3-year-old retaining wall has long worried them.

They’re suing several municipalities over drainage.

“We knew that this was a strong possibility and we’ve been lighting all kinds of signals and telling anybody who would listen that this is going to be a problem,” Brett Zackowski of Parker at Waichman Law Firm, said.

Some residents in Sea Cliff, Long Island were cleaning up after a landslide there wiped out a backyard, sending everything from the fence to the barbecue down to the Long Island Sound, CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported.

“I have been here 30 years and there’s never been a problem along the cliff with anything coming down. Nothing you’d ever think of,” one resident said.

In New Jersey, the National Weather Service said trained spotters recorded 5 inches of rain in Medford in Burlington County and Greenbrook Township in Somerset County.

A parking lot in Manville, N.J. was flooded, leaving several cars submerged, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.

Chopper 2 looked down on a flooded baseball field; only the fence and the backstop were visible.

As CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, the Rahway River in Cranford looked more like a raging rapid Thursday morning.

The river overflowed its banks and now what was a park is part of the Rahway.

“Yesterday was five inches of rain, our town was scared,” Cranford resident Elisa Lang said.

New Jersey’s state climatologist said the Rahway River crested at 8.65 feet, the sixth highest on record.

In Newark, a number of police cars and some big rigs got stuck in the floodwaters, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.

Most of the state received more than 4 inches of rain by Thursday morning.

Forecasters said major flooding is possible along the Millstone River in Hillsborough and the Raritan River in Bound Brook. Both are well above flood stage.

Some towns were reporting flooded roads and street closings.

NJ TRANSIT is cross-honoring bus and rail tickets systemwide Thursday. Montclair-Boonton Line service is suspended between Montclair State University and Denville due to track damage caused by the weather.

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