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Powerful thunderstorm hits Long Island, NYC with full force

Route 25A in Huntington started to flood on Tuesday, after thunderstorms moved onto Long Island, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds.  Credit: Newsday / Arnold Miller

Fast-moving thunderstorms weakened as they crossed Long Island during Tuesday night's rush hour after overpowering New York City's transportation systems, the National Weather Service said, but conditions will be better Wednesday.

The forecast calls for sunny skies Wednesday with a high of 87 and just 60 percent humidity.

"It's going to feel much more comfortable," said meteorologist Carlie Buccola of the National Weather Service in Upton. "You'll notice the change."

Tuesday was mostly cloudy with 95 percent humidity with the thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon.

The storm was so intense that a funnel cloud appeared in the waters off Brooklyn about 4 p.m. and several city subway lines shut down briefly because of flooding, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

The National Weather Service said it reviewed pictures and video from New York Harbor and confirmed it was a funnel cloud, which apparently did not touch water.

Islip had 1.12 inches of rain by 6 p.m., with almost an inch falling in the 4 p.m. hour, Buccola said.

But that was nothing compared to flooding in the city. The downpours shut down all northbound lanes of the FDR Drive for about 35 blocks in Manhattan as vehicles got stuck. In the subways, the MTA tweeted it was "battling station flooding" at Times Square and other stops along the L line and the No. 6 line had been temporarily halted between Manhattan and the Bronx.

"As the storm made its way across the city, it did weaken," Buccola said. "It was so humid today so any rain that did fall was going to be heavy."

On Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk county police reported no major, weather-related incidents, although Old Sunrise Highway in Massapequa was closed in both directions underneath the train trestle due to flooding.

The worst of the storm was over by about 6 p.m. as the weather service rolled back its flash flood watch and other alerts. 

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