NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Heavy rain from a nor’easter soaked much of the Tri-State area Tuesday, and caused serious flooding in some areas.
A flood watch was in effect until late Tuesday night for New York City, parts of Long Island, Westchester, Orange, Rockland and Putnam counties as well as for parts of Connecticut and New Jersey.
A wind advisory finally ended at 5 p.m. Tuesday for New York City, southern Westchester and Nassau counties and in parts of Connecticut.
PHOTOS: Nor’easter Soaks Tri-State
On Long Island, flooding, rains, and high tide brought water dangerously close to homes.
In Lindenhurst, Long Island, drivers stopped to contemplate whether to chance driving through floodwaters on Shore Road, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported. Most turned around.
Nearby, there was ankle-deep water in front of houses still being rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy.
In Elwood, a driver lost control at the Jericho Turnpike and Warner Road and went down the side of a road before getting stuck.
Longtime Oceanside resident Emilio Rascionato, who had six feet of water in his home during Sandy, said he’s used to seeing the banks of the Mill River overflow, sometimes right into his basement, so he’s prepared for whatever this storm brings, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“I have the pumps in there,” Rascionato said. “We’re always ready in this neighborhood.”
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, national grid was making house calls as homeowners were trapped by rising tides, and rain would not quit on Long Island’s south shore.
“The rain is coming in sideways, and the water level is very high right now. Down by the water we do have some excessive flooding, over the bulkheads, up through drains, couple feet of water in some locations,” Thomas Stay, Town of Babylon DPW, said.
Parkways were nearly impassable at times as residents tried to return home after work, but for a time neighborhood streets wouldn’t let them. So, folks got cozy at Glen’s Dinette.
“They are coming in from out of the rain for a nice hot cup of coffee,” Donna Bates said.
“It’s bad. It’s probably the worst storm since Sandy,” Ocean Beach Fire Chief Ian Levine told TV 10/55’s Richard Rose.
Levine said the flooding of homes is even more disheartening because most Fire Island residents had finally completed repairs from the devastation of Sandy two years ago.
As Rose reported, close to 400 people were stranded on Fire Island Tuesday night as the ferry service was suspended due to severe flooding.
“There’s been no decision for tomorrow, but if things stay the way they are, I could see it being cancelled for tomorrow and possibly even the day after,” Levine said.
The New York City Department of Buildings said builders, contractors and property owners should secure their construction sites and buildings.
The New York City Office of Emergency Management issued a travel advisory for Tuesday through Wednesday and has activated its flash flood plan in anticipation of the storm.
“I urge all drivers to exercise caution and check conditions before getting on the road,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “We are proactively deploying as many resources as necessary to assist communities in the storm’s path to prepare for and manage whatever Mother Nature brings.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority worked ahead of time to clear drains, remove trash and make repairs.
New York City Transit dispatched additional cleaning crews to keep tracks free and clear of debris that could clog drains and allow buildup of water that could be enough to stop service.
NJ TRANSIT buses and trains cross-honored tickets.
In New Jersey, minor flooding was reported during Tuesday morning’s high tide along the Raritan Bay shore in Monmouth County, as well as in Ocean City, West Wildwood and southern Long Beach Island.
The nor’easter also on Tuesday left roads dangerous and flooded and motorists stuck in Sea Bright, a narrow peninsula between the ocean and the Shrewsbury River.
Police advised residents to move vehicles to higher ground after the morning high tide as side streets were beginning to flood.
By noon, the rain had turned some Sea Bright streets into lakes, CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported. It was hard to tell where the roadway began or ended, and benches could barely be scene.
“It’s pretty bad. I’m actually trying to get home so I don’t know how I’m going to get over there, I’m going to have to walk through it again,” said resident Sean O’Malley. “It happens every year, it’s not a surprise.”
It was a scary situation – especially on the main thoroughfare, where Erin Leach found herself trapped in her Volkswagen bug as the water rose.
“Because I saw a bunch of other cars going, and I thought maybe my car could, too,” said Leach, of Hazlet.
But her car could not go. A military-style truck had to rescue the 20-year-old.
“I was just scared,” Leach said. “Nothing like that has ever happened.”
Leach said at least for the most part, water did not move into her car.
“Only when cars were passing, when it was just still it was fine, but when big trucks were passing it was moving my car a little bit,” she said.
She was grateful to the firefighters who got her out.
“Thank you. I really, really appreciate it,” Leach said. “I am sorry I was crying the whole time. I was very scared.”
The flooded streets also made for a tough situation for residents on foot.
“It’s cold, and it’s hard to get out sometimes,” one woman said.
But emergency officials said they were prepared.
“We know it’s going to come. We know that our people would be stuck in the flood areas,” said OEM director Read Murphy.
Some homes in the area are still empty because of Superstorm Sandy two years ago, and residents are tired of it all.
“It’s been unwalkable; unpassable,” said Sarah Hofer of Sea Bright. “We had waders when we moved our cars up here.”
Streets in Sea Bright finally cleared late Tuesday, but emergency management officials kept a close eye on the Shrewsbury River just in case waters rose again.
Meanwhile, Toms River Emergency Management Coordinator Paul Daley was at Ortley Beach Tuesday where the sand dunes took a beating.
“About 15 to 20 percent of the dunes are gone, which is about normal for a storm,” he told Haskell.
And Route 30 through Absecon, leading to and from the Atlantic City casinos, was flooded but still passable as of mid-morning.
Some inland communities including Vineland and Atlantic County’s Hamilton Township experienced flooding as well.
Freezing rain around Interstate 287 and northwest New Jersey gave way to rain as temperatures rose.
More than two dozen schools in the northwest part of the state delayed opening, and scattered power outages were reported.
Meanwhile, as 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported, multiple streets in an industrial neighborhood in Elmsford, Westchester County, were also flooded. But the streets – Hayes Street, Lamont Street, Havens Street and River Street – flood regularly.
One man, Ruben, drove down the flooded streets in his sedan, making sure that the water did not come up so high as to get into the engine. Another man, Mike, had no problem driving down in the street in a tow truck – but he said the flooding does get old.
“They can’t fix it,” he said. “I’ve been here 29 years and it’s been happening every year, and it’s been getting worse for the past 10 years.”
And in Connecticut, icy rain has made roads slick and dangerous, causing more than a dozen accidents and shutting parts of Interstates 91, 84 and 691.
Nine passengers on a commuter bus that was involved in an accident have been hospitalized, with four passengers taken to Hartford Hospital’s emergency room.
No details were immediately available about the accident or the passengers’ conditions Tuesday morning.
A spokesman for an ambulance service that responded to the commuter bus accident said highway cameras appeared to show a spinout.
The wind and wet weather is also already causing delays at area airports.
There are up to three hour delays at LaGuardia Aiport and Newark Airport is reporting delays close to two hours. Dozens of flights have also been canceled at other area airports.
Public Service Electric & Gas in New Jersey and PSEG Long Island both said they would have personnel and equipment ready to respond for possible outages.
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