Heavy rains stall commuters, cause mudslides

A van along Harbor Park Drive in Port

A van along Harbor Park Drive in Port Washington is nearly covered early Thursday, May 1, 2014, after heavy rains overnight unleashed a mudslide. (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Parts of Nassau County were so badly saturated with rain that some roads were impassable during the rush hour Thursday morning, and the soggy ground was blamed for two mudslides.

"This road is just impossible," Atlantic Beach Mayor Stephen Mahler said by telephone from his car as he drove to work in Queens.

"It took my wife 2 1/2 hours to get to her job in Forest Hills and here I am on Brookville Boulevard [in Queens.] I've gone, what, 2 1/2 miles from Atlantic Beach, and I've been on the road for an hour and a half," he said.


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Mahler said he had come up the Nassau Expressway to Rockaway Parkway and was heading west to his law office. "This is the evacuation route for my village? Ridiculous!" he said.

Lawrence Mayor Martin Oliner said roads in his village were so badly flooded that some residents in low-lying areas could not get out of their homes. "Here we are 18 months after Sandy and nothing has changed," Oliner said. "People were cut off. They couldn't get out of the village."

Suffolk County officials said there were no weather-related problems in the county and minor delays on the Long Island Rail Road.

The National Weather Service said about 5.5 inches of rain fell in Plainview, 5.1 in Merrick, 4.5 in Lido Beach and 4.4 in Bellmore. Northport and Farmingdale had the highest amounts in Suffolk, about 3.8 inches each, the weather service said. The East End had far less: Orient Point was hit the hardest, with 2 inches.

In central Nassau, Herricks Road was flooded just south of Hillside Avenue in the morning, and at least two motorists had to be towed after their cars became disabled while going through the knee-deep water.

In Sea Cliff in northern Nassau, two homes were evacuated after a mudslide on Bay Avenue near 16th Avenue collapsed a retaining wall on a hillside overlooking Hempstead Harbor, officials said.

Sea Cliff Fire Chief Ernest Longobucco said a homeowner called the fire department around 7 a.m. and officials evacuated three people from the home where the mudslide occurred and a neighboring property.

Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy said there were four rental units on the property where the mudslide occurred.

In Port Washington, officials said mud sloshing over retaining walls partially buried two vehicles Wednesday night in a lot on Harbor Park Drive near Industrial Park Drive.

No injuries were reported in either mudslide.

There is no rain in Friday's forecast, and there is a slight chance of rain Saturday night. There's also a chance of showers Sunday.

With Gary Dymski

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