NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Heavy rain turned major roads into rivers and rapids in parts of the Tri-State Area Monday evening, in a round of storms that could continue off and on for more than a day to come.

A flash flood watch was to remain in effect until Wednesday morning for New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties.

CHECK: Radar Forecast & Alerts

The flash flood watch is also in effect for parts of Connecticut and New Jersey.

Severe thunderstorms first hit the area early in the evening. The weather later calmed down, but by 9 p.m., severe weather resumed – particularly along the Jersey Shore. Belmar, New Jersey, saw 4,000 lightning strikes between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. alone, and also picked up about 3 inches of rain, CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.

There were multiple reports Monday night of hail, downed trees and flooding in homes and streets — everywhere from Westchester County to Upper Manhattan and North Jersey.

In Hawthorne Monday night, the swift and sudden flooding caught many commuters off guard, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported. Cones were set up to warn people of the danger late Monday, but earlier at the southernmost part of the Teconic Parkway, drivers who were caught by the runoff that followed the downpours.

Everything was fine one minute, but the next it was not.

“By the time we came through here, the rain had stopped, and there was water, and the car ahead of me went through, and I followed him, and he got through, and I didn’t,” a man said.

“I misjudged how deep it was. It’s really deep…. It’s a waste of the fire department time too,” a woman added. “I feel really stupid.”

Stranded cars were seen along the low-lying riverside parkways in Hawthorne, as well as the local streets, Young reported, and the fire department had to rescue several stranded motorists who were trapped by the run-off.

Social media reports indicated stranded cars all over Bergen County, and as far south as Lakewood, New Jersey.

Flooding in Lakewood, New Jersey on Monday, July 14. (Credit: @mbigbrach)

Flooding in Lakewood, New Jersey on Monday, July 14. (Credit: @mbigbrach)

Flooding was also seen in several other areas, including Perth Amboy and Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and Washington Heights in Manhattan.

Extensive delays were also reported on the Henry Hudson Parkway near 158th Street, on the West Side of Manhattan, due to flooding.

Flooding in Washington Heights on Monday, July 14. (Credit: happypragmatist)

Flooding in Washington Heights on Monday, July 14. (Credit: happypragmatist)

In Perth Amboy, the flooding was so severe that one man was photographed going down the street in a kayak.

Flooding was so severe in Perth Amboy, New Jersey on Monday, July 14 that this man used a kayak. (Credit: mr_starks_to_u)

Flooding was so severe in Perth Amboy, New Jersey on Monday, July 14 that this man used a kayak. (Credit: mr_starks_to_u)

It was not clear late Monday whether the floodwaters might remain in place long enough to affect the Tuesday morning commute.

And in Union, New Jersey, a trained spotter reported a chimney was struck by lightning on Retford Avenue, 1010 WINS reported. The chimney was destroyed at the roof line, and was cracked down to the basement.

The weather also shut down NJ TRANSIT North Jersey Coast Line train service between Woodbridge and South Amboy Monday evening.

Earlier in the evening, one storm cell was severe enough to display rotation near Sussex County, New Jersey, but there were no reports of tornadic activity on the ground, Quinn reported.

But in southern New Jersey closer to Philadelphia, a tornado warning was issued Monday evening in Burlington County.

Forecasters said multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms will continue to move across the region ahead of a cold front for days to come.

Heavy downpours totaling two to three inches could occur through midday Wednesday. Winds gusts could reach 20 mph and possibly higher during severe storms.

As the storms first blew in, the New York City Department of Buildings on Monday warned property owners and contractors to secure their construction sites and buildings.

The department says if construction sites are not safely secured, officials will issue violations and stop work orders if necessary.

Check Out These Other Stories From

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Watch & Listen LIVE