NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Severe thunderstorms barreled through the Tri-State Area for the second day in a row Tuesday, making a mess of the roads just in time for the afternoon rush hour and keeping a threat of continuing rain through the night.
As CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported, nearly the entire Tri-State Area was under a severe thunderstorm watch for much of the evening. Heavy rain had already soaked the area Monday night and again in the early afternoon hours Tuesday, and a second round of severe weather came in the evening.
By 11 p.m., Belmar, New Jersey had seen 2.17 inches of rain; Lakehurst, New Jersey 1.72 inches; Toms River, New Jersey 1.64 inches; White Plains 1.45 inches; and New York City 1.29 inches, Quinn reported.
There also were reports that Wall, New Jersey saw 4 inches of rain.
But late Tuesday night, the rain still was not over. By 2 p.m. Wednesday, New York City was expected to see 1.2 inches more of rain; Brick, New Jersey 2 more inches; and Danbury, Connecticut 3.7 more inches.
A flash flood watch remained in effect for the entire area through Wednesday afternoon.
Flash flood warnings were also issued Tuesday for New York City and parts of New Jersey, but later expired. But by the time they did end, Mother Nature had made good on her flooding threat in plenty of areas, from the roads to the subway system.
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Flooding closed all lanes on the Cross Bronx Expressway at Jerome Avenue in the Mount Eden section of the Bronx during the evening rush – causing delays of nearly two hours on the George Washington Bridge. All of the traffic on the expressway was funneled off at Jerome Avenue and then funneled on again – bottlenecking four lanes of traffic into one.
There were plenty of frustrated drivers and frayed nerves as a result of the closure, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
One man driving in from Scranton, Pennsylvania, said he had been sitting in traffic for an hour and a half. Another man from New Jersey said he had been stuck in traffic for two hours.
Both said they had no idea what the problem was when they reached the backup.
Residual delays persisted on the George Washington Bridge as late as 11 p.m., CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Meanwhile, the southbound Bronx River Parkway in White Plains was also closed due to flooding Tuesday evening.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, one section of the Bronx River Parkway in downtown White Plains was completely underwater at 3:20 p.m. when the storms struck. The Hutchinson River Parkway was also out at Lincoln Avenue in Mount Vernon.
Flooding also snagged the Henry Hudson Parkway at 158th Street – a spot that has had problems since the storms Monday night. CBS 2’s Carlin reported that while driving in Mobile 2 on the parkway, the speedometer only once exceeded 15 mph.
Flooding on the Henry Hudson Parkway:
The rain created an obstacle course of deep puddles, stalled cars and police roadblocks on the parkway and the West Side Highway. For some, the traffic slowdowns were the least of their worries, because motorists were stuck in their cars with high water all around.
“We didn’t realize why it was backed up until we got to the one area, an underpass, and it (the flooding) was up to the bottom of everyone’s cars,” said James Oliva, of the Upper West Side, told Carlin. “It was bad. They should not have that problem.”
Many drivers made sudden illegal U-turns to try to get out of the traffic jams, Carlin reported.
In Edgewater, New Jersey, flash flooding inundated dozens of cars along River Road. Five of them were up to the bumpers of the parking lot of a golf driving range, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
The water rose too quickly to rescue them, said driving range employee Paula Shin.
“I believe this is the first time in 15 years – Hurricane Sandy was one of them, but this was actually kind of the first time that has ever happened,” Shin said.
It was also a traffic nightmare through Edgewater and Fort Lee as a byproduct of the Cross Bronx flooding and its effect on the George Washington Bridge.
Flooding also affected the subway system, with sheets of rain flooding the stairways at the 145th Street A, B, C and D train stop in Harlem.
Farther south in Manhattan, floodwaters also inundated Washington Square Park. An Instragram photo by filmmaker Joyce Wu showed the pathways in the park had been turned into brown, muddy creeks.
And as CBS 2’s Carlin reported, lightning was also a problem around the city.
One strike hit a highrise building in East Harlem, where firefighters on the scene said that part of the roof was damaged. Lightning also zapped houses including one on 244th Street in Douglaston, Queens.
A home in Rockaway Park narrowly escaped as lightning hit a utility pole, just steps away.
Forecasters said multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms were expected to continue pounding the region ahead of a cold front through late Tuesday night, with 1 to 3 inches of rain possible. The rainfall could also cause streams and creeks to rise quickly.
The National Weather Service was also trying to determine if a tornado hit the town of Voorhees Monday. A line of powerful storms moved through Camden County Monday night, pulling down power lines. About 1,300 customers were left in the dark.
In Connecticut, parts of Interstate 95 south in New Haven were closed Monday evening because of flooding and that flooding in Westport forced some motorists to abandon their cars.
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