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Long Island weather: After flooding rains, more to come

Cars navigate a flooded Southern State Parkway near

Cars navigate a flooded Southern State Parkway near West Babylon on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Credit: Steve Pfost

Showers and thunderstorms surged across Long Island Friday, flooding roads and disrupting traffic from the morning commute into the early afternoon.

And forecasters expect another strong band of storms to hit toward the end of the evening rush hour.

In fact, a flash flood watch was issued for Nassau County, in effect until 11 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. A severe thunderstorm watch is also in effect for Nassau until 9 p.m.

“We can’t say with certainty where they’ll hit,” weather service meteorologist Jay Engle said of the next round of predicted storms.

As for when the next batch of storms arrives, News 12 Long Island meteorologist Rich Hoffman estimated between 5 and 9 p.m.

During the first wave, police and other officials reported sporadic flooding of streets and highways in both counties — and in some cases submerged cars.

In Farmingdale firefighters had to rescue two people from a car stuck in about 3 feet of water. In Great Neck, a waterfall cascaded onto the LIRR tracks.

Forecasters said there was quite a range in rainfall numbers — from less than an inch to nearly 4 inches — with the heaviest rain falling along the Long Island Expressway and northward, in central and eastern Suffolk.

The highest amount reported was in East Shoreham, with 3.8 inches, National Weather Service meteorologist David Stark said.

At the weather service office in Upton 2.17 inches fell. About five miles to the south, at Brookhaven Calabro Airport, only about an inch fell. In Nassau, 3⁄4 of an inch fell in Wantagh and 2 1⁄4 inches fell in Farmingdale.

“That’s what happens when you get thunderstorms like this in August,” Stark said. “This is actually the time of year that we typically see this.”

Forecasters noted that the rain fell over a short period of time — about 30 to 40 minutes.

The weather service first reported a band of “torrential rainfall” on Long Island about 8:30 a.m. when it said a strong thunderstorm was over the Great Neck area and moving east.

The heavy rain slowed the morning commute and made for dangerous travel.

Two cars were submerged in floodwaters on the Southern State Parkway on the border of North Lindenhurst and West Babylon, temporarily blocking access to eastbound Exit 35.

The state Department of Transportation reported that flooding closed the left lane of the Northern State Parkway at Exit 27 in North Hills for nearly 20 minutes.

Resourceful firefighters and a heavy machine operator used a payloader to rescue an older couple who became trapped when their car became partially submerged under a railroad trestle in Farmingdale.

A video posted on Twitter showed storm runoff pouring down onto the Long Island Rail Road tracks at Great Neck station, flooding a section of track. The railroad said it was aware of the video, but there were no reported service disruptions at the station. The LIRR’s website indicated there were no service disruptions systemwide.

Nassau County police said the heavy rain created isolated areas of road flooding throughout the county: Stuart Avenue and Central Avenue in Valley Stream; sections of Glen Cove Road in Glen Head; areas of Jericho Turnpike in Jericho; and Salisbury Park Drive and Old Country Road in Westbury.

In Great Neck Estates, police said a car became stranded on flooded North Clover Drive near Myrtle Drive. But, police said, the vehicle’s occupants were able to get out of the car — and there were no reported injuries.

Glen Cove police said there were reports of cars getting stuck due to road flooding, most notably along well-traveled Cedar Swamp Road, but said the heaviest rains appeared to have moved through — and believed any flooding would soon dissipate.

Flooding closed Wolver Hollow Road in Upper Brookville in both directions at Piping Rock Road. Police diverted vehicles around the area.

On the waters, there is a moderate risk of rip currents at ocean beaches, but the risk could become greater in the afternoon, the weather service said.

In the air both Kennedy and LaGuardia airports warned travelers to expect delays because of the bad weather.

PSEG Long Island said about 2,800 of its 1.1 million customers were without power at midday, and most of the outages were weather-related.

With John Valenti and Olivia Winslow

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