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Floodwaters Wreak Havoc On Roads, Strand Motorists In Newark

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Heavy rains turned Newark’s streets into lakes Monday, trapping people in cars all over the city.

The Newark Fire Department said it had to rescue a number of people from blocks all across the city, CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported.

At one point, the Fire Department used a boat to rescue several stranded motorists, including a mother and her five children from a minivan.

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“I think when the kids started realizing the water was going to get into the car, they started to panic because we saw them jumping over the seats,” witness Angela Cottle told Finch.

Cottle had a bird’s-eye view of the rescue from her desk at work. She said police officers and firefighters got everyone out of the vehicle quickly and unharmed, but she said the incident was scary to watch.

“It was raining so heavily,” she said. “We didn’t know how fast the water was going to get in the car, and we didn’t want anything to happen to the babies.”

Large vehicles, such as trucks and buses, plowed through the floodwaters at high speeds. But “gunning it” didn’t work for the dozens of cars that littered the streets.

During the heaviest rain, four cars became stuck on Martin Luther King Boulevard under the Broad Street train tracks.

“My car was moving, but the other two cars in front of me stopped … and there were cars behind me, so I couldn’t back up or anything,” said Tamia McCormick, one of the stranded drivers.

Rising water trapped Tom Ciccone in his car before firefighters used a small boat to pull him to safety.

“The water came over the dashboard, over the hood,” he said. “I was floating. At one point, I floated about 8 feet forward. I thought I was going to get hit because cars, they kept going. They didn’t care. They were driving on the sidewalk trying to go around.”

While some cars were able to power through flooded roads, the National Weather Service urged drivers to heed their slogan “Turn Around. Don’t Drown.” Floods kill more people each year than any other severe weather-related hazard, according to the National Weather Service.

The floodwaters were also treacherous for pedestrians. One woman reportedly didn’t see a manhole cover and fell into the manhole, Finch reported. She was rescued with few injuries.

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