This story was reported by John Asbury, Robert Brodsky, Alfonso A. Castillo, Matthew Chayes, Candice Ferrette, Lorena Mongelli and John Valenti.
Extreme rainfall battered the region Friday — with areas of Brooklyn, Queens and western Nassau County hit hardest — forcing the evacuation of an Elmont housing complex, the closure of major roadways throughout the region, and prompting Nassau Executive Bruce Blakeman to urge residents to shelter in place.
Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency across Long Island, New York City and the Hudson Valley. “This is not an ordinary rainfall. This is historic,” Hochul said. Parts of Long Island remained under a flash flood warning Friday night.
Some areas of Long Island received more than 6 inches of rain Friday, while some parts of Queens, metro-New York and western Nassau County could get as much as 7 inches, according to the National Weather Service, as the storm system moved up the East Coast and over the metropolitan area.
There were no reports of injuries on the Island, police said Friday night.
"Mother Nature has shown us unprecedented rainfall in a matter of just 24 hours, with more than seven inches of rain in parts of Brooklyn and six inches of rain for other parts of New York City,” Hochul said. “Our focus now is ensuring everyone gets home safe tonight and uses extreme caution when commuting this evening, as more rain is on the way.”
In a message early Friday evening, Blakeman urged residents to shelter in place.
"Anyone in a school or a business or in their home surrounded by flooding waters should stay put and ride out the storm," Blakeman said, adding that the county was not evacuating neighborhoods. "Only call 911 if it's an emergency."
Shortly before 3 p.m., officers in Nassau's Fifth Precinct police responded to the Westover Gardens apartments on Elmont Road for reports of several feet of water in the basements of multiple apartment buildings.
Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin said about 80 seniors reported about 2 feet of water in their building; they were rescued and connected with the American Red Cross for emergency housing. Police said they found several feet of water in the basement of several apartments.
In total, police and other first responders evacuated approximately between 200 and 300 residents from the buildings, officials said. PSEG Long Island has cut all power to the buildings also as a precaution.
“We had so much rain so quickly throughout the town and there was flooding around the complex. We almost had to do boat rescues, but fortunately the water subsided,” Clavin said. “One woman said it was the most rain she’d ever seen in 43 years.”
Clavin said flooding was reported throughout the town from the South Shore to Levittown. Several cars were stuck under overpasses coming off the parkways.
He said the rain was on par with past storms such as Superstorm Sandy but lacked the wind and destruction.
“We were advised to expect rain, but I don’t think anyone expected this amount of rain so long and sustained,” Clavin said. “Now we have a heavily saturated base and this storm isn’t over. More rain is on the way and we have to be prepared for anything to happen and more flooding.”
Earlier Friday, Blakeman activated the county's Emergency Management Center and urged officials to cancel all afternoon and evening activities that "require pedestrian or vehicle movements, especially on the south and north shores of Nassau County and low-lying areas until Saturday afternoon."
The scenes of massive flooding on Nassau's South Shore shocked even longtime residents.
In East Meadow, the flooding engulfed a half dozen vehicles near the corner of North Jerusalem Road and Shakespeare Place and motorists were forced to abandon vehicles. Firefighters were walking the neighborhood rescuing stranded motorists. At one point, a man in a kayak passed by leisurely on North Jerusalem Road where the flooding had cascaded onto the front porch of several homes.
Multiple major arteries had been closed due to flooding including:
- The Southern State Parkway westbound and eastbound at Central Avenue
- The Southern State Parkway westbound at Baldwin Road where two lanes were closed.
- Hempstead Turnpike in both directions between Plainfield Avenue and Holland Avenue
- Hillside Avenue at Herricks Road, where the right lane was closed in both directions
- The Northern State Parkway eastbound at Meadowbrook State Parkway, where the left lane was closed
- The Northern State Parkway in both directions at Brush Hollow Road
- Sunrise Highway westbound at Morris Avenue in Rockville Centre, where the right lane was closed
- Route 110 in both directions between Conklin Street and Price Parkway and between Mill Lane and Prime Avenue
For the latest on road closures, go to 511ny.org.
Long Beach: Limit water usage
Long Beach city officials asked residents to delay using water when possible due to the oversaturated water treatment system.
The city issued a robocall asking residents to limit water usage, including unnecessary running of dishwashers, laundry machines and delaying bathing and unnecessary toilet flushing.
“The high volume of rain we’ve been experiencing is putting a tremendous strain on our water treatment infrastructure,” the city said in a statement. “To keep these systems from exceeding capacity, we are asking all residents to avoid unnecessary water usage until the rain has subsided.”
Long Beach officials said the rain has caused some localized flooding in low-lying areas of the city, including the West End and North Park neighborhoods.
Flooding in Island Park
Island Park was facing severe street flooding and water cresting over bulkheads in canals, but no water had reached any homes as of Friday evening, Mayor Michael McGinty said.
The village was still recovering from heavy rain from Tropical Storm Ophelia and high tide Friday morning, causing severe street flooding, he said. McGinty said it was the most severe weather the village has seen since a Dec. 23 storm that caused widespread power outages.
"It's a great deal of flooding and an incredible storm," he said.
Meanwhile, the MTA announced disruptions to New York City mass transit: "Service across our network is severely disrupted due to this extreme rainfall. Please stay home if you don't need to travel," the agency said in a statement.
There were scant power outages across Long Island: As of 9 p.m., there were 46 active outages Islandwide affecting 710 customers, according to the PSEG's online outage map.
In Nassau, communities including Cedarhurst, Island Park, Oceanside and Massapequa were affected by flooding, Blakeman said. He said officials were prepared for the next high tide cycle around 9 p.m.
Hochul has instructed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to stage flood rescue teams in Nassau and Westchester counties, ready for rapid deployment in the event of flash flooding.
“State agencies are prepared to respond to requests for assistance from our local government partners and I encourage all New Yorkers to pay close attention to the storm conditions,” she said.
The announcement came less than two hours after the weather service said some areas of Long Island had already been drenched with about 2½ inches of rain from the slow-moving storms that rolled into the Long Island-metro area late Thursday.
Delays, cancellations at airports
The weather was causing delays and cancellations at area airports. At Kennedy Airport, more than a dozen flights inbound and outbound were canceled, and more than a dozen inbound flights diverted to other airports.
At LaGuardia, dozens of arrivals and departures were canceled, and a handful of arriving flights were diverted. All Spirit and Frontier flights at LaGuardia were canceled through 4 a.m. Saturday, but that was subject to change, officials said.
Meanwhile, the FAA said rain and weather delays at LaGuardia were causing average arrival delays of 56 minutes. The FAA said ground stop initiatives due to weather at both LaGuardia and Kennedy were causing gate hold, taxi and departure delays. There were no impacts to AirTrainJFK.
There were scattered delays at MacArthur Airport, Islip Town spokesperson Caroline Smith said.
As Friday afternoon, rain totals from the National Weather Service showed that Brooklyn, Queens and parts of western Nassau County were hardest hit. The measurements:
- Brooklyn 6.71 inches, Prospect Park 6.30, Boerum Hill 6 inches, all recorded at about 2 p.m.
- In Queens, Ozone Park 6.91; Kew Gardens Hills got 5.83, and Bellerose 5.54 inches, all as of about 2 p.m.
- In Nassau, Valley Stream got 7.61 inches as of 2:16 p.m., East Rockaway, 6.37 as of 2:20 p.m.; Great Neck, 6.28 as of 2:13 p.m.
- In Suffolk, Dix Hills got 2.04 inches, Northport, 1.86; and Smithtown 1.61, all as of about 2 p.m.
- As for city airports, JFK got 5.96 and LaGuardia got 4.06
A flood watch was in effect Friday — and will remain in effect through at least 10 p.m. — for most of Nassau, Suffolk and the five boroughs.
The weather service warned of the potential for road ponding, flash flooding of streams, creeks and other low-lying areas, particularly known vulnerable areas, including areas of Freeport, Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Long Beach, Glen Cove, Garden City, Levittown, Plainview, Massapequa, Syosset, Mineola, Woodmere, Westbury, Great Neck, Farmingdale and Oyster Bay.
LIRR: Expect delays, cancellations
MTA chairman and CEO Janno Lieber, at Grand Central Terminal on Friday afternoon, said the transit system will be operating with work crews and equipment deployed at strategic locations.
Commuter railroads have crews ready with chain saws for downed trees, and supplies to replace damaged utility poles, and workers are also making sure that crossing gates at grade crossings are functioning.
The LIRR was running close to on schedule Friday afternoon, but MTA spokesperson Joana Flores said commuters should expect delays and cancellations this evening due to flooding in the Amtrak and East River Tunnels and within the storage yards.
The Far Rockaway branch between Far Rockaway and Valley Stream is partially suspended because of high water conditions, according to Flores. The Long Beach branch between Long Beach and Valley Stream is also partially suspended.
The LIRR, Lieber said, is going to have extra coverage in all departments and at the Jamaica control center, the operation center and will be staffing it throughout the night in coordination with the Coast Guard "because there are some areas where there are joint decisions about the safety of certain rights of way which are close to the coast.”
Some bridges, for example, may be closing in Long Beach and decisions that would impact navigation would have to be made with the Coast Guard.
The heavy rainfall walloped the New York City Transit subway system. On its website, the MTA listed the B, G and W trains as being fully suspended, and many more lines being partially suspended, delayed or rerouted.
Due to flooding, Metro-North Hudson Line service was suspended, the MTA announced. More information is available at www.mta.info/mnr.
As for city roads, flooding forced the full closure of all lanes in both directions of the Belt Parkway at Exit 6-Cropsey Avenue, according to the NYPD.
All northbound lanes of the FDR Drive in Manhattan are closed approaching East 88th Street, city officials said.
The FDNY had to conduct 15 car rescues, city Mayor Eric Adams told 1010 WINS radio on Friday evening.
Slightly more than 10% of the city's public schools — about 150 out of 1,400 — took on some water, but operations were not impacted, said schools Chancellor David Banks.
The city sewers were designed to handle a maximum rainfall of 1.75 inches per hour; between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., 2.58 inches fell on the Brooklyn Navy Yard, said Rohit T. Aggarwala, the city’s commissioner of environmental protection.
Based on measurements in Central Park, Friday was the wettest day the city has experienced since Hurricane Ida in 2021, said the city’s emergency management commissioner, Zach Iscol.
To make matters worse for waterfront areas across Long Island, the weather service is warning that wind-driven seas, coupled with downpours, could lead to coastal flooding as well as beach and dune erosion, with inundations of up to a half-foot above ground level in prone areas, and breaking waves of up to 3 feet along most of the North Shore and up to 5 feet at Orient Point.
South Shore beaches and dunes also will remain vulnerable.
That coastal hazard message remains in effect through to Saturday afternoon, the weather service said, adding: "Splashover bulkheads and dune structures may locally exacerbate flooding for shoreline roads and properties."
A small-craft advisory remains in effect for all coastal waters through to 8 p.m. Saturday, with seas of 6 to 9 feet possible in the Atlantic Ocean from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to Montauk Point — all driven by offshore wind gusts of up to 30 knots or 34.5 mph.
There's also a high risk of rip currents, the weather service said. That threat will remain through to Saturday at 2 p.m.
Friday’s low temperatures will be around 58, with a high around 63. Rain is expected to continue all day.
On Saturday rain is also likely, with a high around 65 and low around 56. On Sunday the skies will clear — with a high of 75 and a low of 60.