Flood Warnings Issued As Drenching Rain, Strong Winds Pound Tri-State Area

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A flood warning was issued late Sunday for the Tri-State Area as a storm system brought heavy, pounding rain and dangerous wind.

A flash flood warning was also issued for Ulster and Greene counties upstate, as well as Dutchess County and parts of Connecticut.

As of 9 p.m., the entire Tri-State Area was still dealing with drenching rain – brought on by a cold front from the west and tropical moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Philippe, CBS2’s Elise Finch reported.

As of 11:30 p.m., rain totals had reached 4.50 inches in Waretown, New Jersey; 4.07 inches in Brentwood, Long Island; 3.88 inches in Wilton, Connecticut; 3.64 inches in Armonk, Westchester County; 2.92 inches in Central Park; and 2.61 inches in Montebello, Rockland County.

The rain had been expected to taper after midnight, but wind gusts of up to 50 to 60 mph are expected to pick up and continue until Monday morning. Thus, high wind warnings have been issued for the area through the night.

The conditions may affect the morning commute.

As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, the heavy rain caused flash floods across the area and closed down some roads, including the Bronx River Parkway from White Plains all the way down to Yonkers.

As the storms passed through, Gov. Andrew Cuomo activated the New York State Emergency Operations Center Sunday, directed all state agencies to take precautionary measures and deploy resources as needed.

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“At my direction, the Emergency Operations Center is activated and personnel are at the ready to help New Yorkers impacted by these adverse weather conditions. I urge everyone to take caution, avoid driving, and remain indoors if possible,” Cuomo said in a news release.

The rain was coming down in sheets in Midtown Manhattan all evening Sunday. But it was far worse in many outlying areas.

In Westchester County, the flooded streets did not seem to slow down some drivers – at least until they came to a huge flashing arrow on the Bronx River Parkway in White Plains, were the road was completely shut down. But some people still had to venture out carefully, as CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.

“Just trying to stay dry and keep safe; driving as best I can; just watching out for hydroplaning and crazy guys who don’t have their lights on,” said one man named Louis. “Happens sometimes on the highway.”

Meanwhile, Pedro Estrella had to walk home to White Plains in the pouring rain.

“Honestly, it’s not a bad walk. I’m not going to complain about the walk,” Estrella said. “It’s just fine.”

The storms also caused flooding around New Jersey. Video showed drivers and trucks plowing through inundated streets in Newark and Bergen County.

A driver had to climb out of the window when his white sedan got stuck in the water at McClellan Street and Frelinghuysen Avenue in Newark – and the door jammed.

“I couldn’t even open it from inside,” the driver said. “Like I just put the window down and I got out.”

At least two vehicles got trapped in the same spot, but the drivers got out safely.

“Like, that is pretty deep. Ah, it might be like three or four feet,” the driver said. “I didn’t think it was that deep at all.”

There were similar scenes across hard-hit Newark. Some streets looked more like lakes, and drivers had to take their chances.

Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose advised that many streets are expected to be flooded, and warned that drivers could end up stranded. Newark police specifically advised motorists to avoid the following locations:

• Clay Street and McCarter Highway
• South Street and Van Buren Street
• Jefferson and Chestnut Streets
• State Street near Broad Street
• Jabez and Backus Streets
• 357 Wilson Avenue
• Manufacturers Place and Hyatt Street
• Magazine Street and Avenue L
• Avenue L and Wilson Avenue
• Ferry and Foundry Streets
• Norfolk Street
• Orange Street
• Nesbitt Street
• McClellan and Frelinghuysen Avenue
• Frelinghuysen Avenue and the Route 21 underpass

Even major highways such as Interstate 80 in Paterson, drivers had to deal with standing water and slowdowns.

In flood-prone Hoboken, police shut down 9th Street between Madison and Monroe streets where one store used sandbags to prepare for the worst.

No parking signs were posted warning drivers that they were in a flood zone, but some did not seem to get the message.

“If I had a car, I probably wouldn’t keep it in this town,” said Mike Brothers of Hoboken. Brothers said there is flooding in Hoboken “every single time” it rains.

In addition to the rain and wind, there were lots of slippery wet leaves causing concerns on the roads in Hoboken.

On Long Island, it was also a soggy and windy day – and the forecast said the worst of the wind was still ahead.

As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, there was a steady stream of rainfall on Long Island Sunday – though not too much flooding. But the wind was harsh, and made walking or driving a challenge of strength.

There were not a lot of people out and about town tonight, but we did talk to some braving the storm.

The Long Beach Boardwalk was deserted Sunday night. The waves were violent against the sand, and a waterside restaurant was closed for business.

Only one person was seen under the streetlamps. Michael Sheehan has lived in Nassau County for 20 years and actually enjoys such weather.

The peace and quiet; the rain,” Sheehan said.

He admitted he made one mistake by wearing shorts.

The beach was quiet Tuesday night, but the supermarket on East Park Avenue in Long Beach was in full swing with shoppers – who would much rather have been at home.

“Oh it’s horrible outside. There’s flooding all over,” said Susan Destefani. “It was crazy today, so I figured today it’d be easier to come shopping — but nothing let up. It’s terrible driving.”

It has been a long day of relentless rain. An American flag was so soaking wet that it stuck to the back of a fire truck.

“I put the garbage cans in the house and took everything off the porch,” said Mickey Mitchell.

Arcady Steinberg grabbed dinner after a Halloween Party Sunday night. The rain had already washed away some of his costume makeup as he tried to get home quickly and safe.

“I haven’t seen too many flood areas. I haven’t seen too many accidents,” Steinberg said. “So overall, not horrible.”

And CBS2’s Bauman experienced the blasting wind firsthand. As she reported live on TV 10/55 Sunday night, her umbrella and hat went flying.

But there were more serious issues to worry about. As WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported, the mix of wind and rain hitting the area Sunday was a dangerous one, with trees being brought down and some of them also taking down overhead wires.

Maria Pollard of Orange and Rockland Utilities had advice Sunday on what people need to know if trees and wires come down in their neighborhood.

“Just for safety – if customers see a downed wire, because these are the situations that – you know, if a tree knocks something down, you can’t see it – please stay from any downed trees; downed wires, and call us immediately,” she said.

Pollard advised treating all wires like they are live wires and staying away. And if the power goes out, call the utility and do not assume someone else will do so.

Power outages were seen across the area late Sunday. Con Edison reported 2,100 customers without power, Orange and Rockland 445, PSE&G New Jersey 2,210, PSEG Long Island 25,000, and Jersey Central Power & Light 7,750 as of late Sunday evening.

CHECK: Flight Delays

Flights were also delayed at two of the three major Tri-State Area airports due to the weather.

Flights headed to Newark Liberty International Airport were delayed 4 hours and 23 minutes Sunday evening, while flights to LaGuardia Airport were delayed 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Flights were also delayed an average of 3 hours and 59 minutes at John F. Kennedy International Airport, but that was due to runway-taxiway construction rather than weather, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.

Meanwhile, Cuomo ordered the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to watch over changing storm conditions. Debris trains and extra personnel have been set up within the New York City subway system, as well as on buses.

On the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad, staffers and equipment have been prepared to handle fallen trees, slippery rails, and potential electric power failure.

Special restrictions may also be put into place on bridges and tunnels.

The Sunday storm comes on the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the area on Oct. 29, 2012.

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