Flood advisory ends after storms drop more rain

A Levittown firefighter carries Olivia Disconti, 19, of

A Levittown firefighter carries Olivia Disconti, 19, of Wantagh, from her car after she got stuck at Loring Road and Chimney Lane in Levittown on her way to classes. (Sept. 5, 2012) (Credit: Harry Loud)

A band of thunderstorms moved through Long Island quickly Wednesday afternoon, dumping another round of heavy rain that flooded some streets.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m. the band of storms moved east at 25 to 30 mph and extended from southern Nassau to Baiting Hollow, forecasters said.

The rate of rainfall was "significant," pouring .40 inches of rain in 20 minutes at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, said meteorologist David Stark. Usually, 1 inch of rain per hour is cause for concern, he said.

"The storm moved very quickly, so it didn't sit over the same spot over any location," Stark said. "If it weren't, that sort of rainfall could have caused more significant problems if it had been slower."

The airport got .74 inches of rain between 12:36 and 2 p.m., Stark said. There were reports of 1.56 inches in Smithtown and 1.28 inches in Farmingdale.

In Levittown, drivers were stranded in floodwaters that rose about 2 feet in some places and went right up to residents' front doors, said Chris Behrens, first deputy chief of the Levittown Fire Department.

"The storm went right through Levittown," he said, "so we did get hit pretty hard with the rain."

One woman trapped by water in her car was carried on the back of a firefighter from her car to the sidewalk at Loring Road and Chimney Lane, an intersection that often floods in heavy rain, Behrens said.

"A couple years back, we had a school bus stuck there," he said. "We had to get all the kids off the bus. We had a problem with the flow of the water. Either it's clogged drains or poor drainage in a couple areas."

The storms come a day after a record amount of rain fell on Long Island.

The weather service said 1.65 inches of rain fell Tuesday at Long Island MacArthur Airport, breaking the previous mark for the day, 1.1 inches, set in 1988. Records at the airport date only to 1986.

Forecasters said clouds will clear out by Wednesday at sunset. Thursday is expected to be clear and less muggy, with a high of 80 degrees, with the chance of showers and thunderstorms increasing over the weekend.

Much of the rain is the result of the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, the weather service said.

Though Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer, has passed, forecasters are warning beachgoers to be aware of dangerous rip currents at South Shore beaches this week. In fact, the weather service is warning of "a high risk" of rip currents, the dangerous conditions related to Hurricane Leslie, which had been upgraded from a tropical storm Wednesday morning as it hung over the Bahamas.

Three state parks on the Atlantic Ocean were closed to swimming Wednesday because of rough surf from the effects of Leslie, more than 500 miles away, state officials said.

"Due to the slow movement of this storm, we are unsure as to when swimming will be reauthorized," at Jones Beach, Robert Moses and Hither Hills state parks, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said in a news release.

The National Hurricane Center said swells generated by the storm will continue to affect the East Coast "from Central Florida northward . . . for the next several days."

"These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the center said in a statement.

Stark said lifeguards on the Island's ocean-facing beaches Wednesday reported waves of 5 to 8 feet. The peak of Hurricane Leslie's impact on the Island will come Sunday and Monday, as the center of the hurricane moves 550 miles off Montauk, he said.

A small-craft advisory is in effect through 6 p.m. Thursday in coastal ocean waters from Montauk Point to Sandy Hook, N.J., the weather service said.

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