BAY SHORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Record rainfall in Suffolk County caused massive flooding and at least one sinkhole to open up in Bay Shore Wednesday morning.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said 13.1 inches of rain fell on Long Island in just a matter of a few hours.
At the Bay Shore Mall, a car in the parking lot was spotted with flood waters reaching the windows.
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, the sun was already beginning to break through the clouds Wednesday afternoon, but there was still between 5 and 6 inches of flooding on the Long Island Rail Road tracks near Saxon Avenue.
Motorists were still moving slowly as crews directed traffic through flooded out roadways.
“The road is completely washed out,” said Southside Hospital Ivette Rivera. “They’re not letting any cars go through.
Workers for the Southside Hospital were forced to abandon their cars — left to make the trek to work on foot, sloshing through several inches of rain water, Burrell reported.
“We’re less than a half-mile from the hospital and we literally had to get out of our vehicles (all the employees), roll up our pants and go through about 6, 7 inches of water to get to our patients,” said Southside Hospital employee Jose Rivera.
Photos: Summer Storm Soaks Tri-State
Meanwhile in a shopping plaza on Main Street, a massive sinkhole opened up and flood water was seen flowing underneath. Witnesses said a car barely made it over before the road caved in.
Both Samantha Scherger and Samantha Galardi, managers at Tropical Smoothie Café in the Bay Shore Commons on East Main Street, were just inches away when they saw a car drive by, making it just across the ground was caving it.
“It is nerve wracking. I’m very emotional, very emotional,” Scherger said.
“We saw a car go right over it and then all of a sudden it just went right down,” said Galardi. “(What were you thinking?) Oh my god this is scary, really scary.”
Assessors on the scene say the sinkhole, which they estimate to be about 12 feet deep, was caused by a pipe that burst because of pressure from a nearby creek, swollen from the heavy rainwater.
The broken pipeline travels right through the basement of the smoothie shop.
“The fire marshal ordered us to shut down and suggested that we get out of here,” Scherger said.
As the perimeter grew bigger, more stunned spectators had to be kept away from the sinkhole.
“Yeah, I’m definitely not driving over here for a while,” Islip resident Blake Burrell said.
The smoothie shop and others will remain closed until the fire marshal and inspectors deem the area safe, Burrell reported.
The property manager was not sure how long it will take to make the repairs.
John Danielli said his concrete business was about 2-feet under water when he arrived Wednesday morning. He called it the worst flooding he’s seen in more than 20 years.
“We’re just trying to get our stuff together,” he said. “You can see everything’s underwater over here.”
At one point, the LIRR tracks were completely submerged, cars were stranded and traffic was at a standstill, Burrell reported.
Motorists were simply trying their best to get to where they needed to be.
“(My shoes) are still wet,” said Rivera. “It’s a lot of water walking through there, but gotta go to work.”
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