This story was reported by Matthew Chayes, Lorena Mongelli and Joe Werkmeister. It was written by Chayes and Mongelli.
Nowhere got more rain than Valley Stream during Friday's epic rainstorm over Long Island and New York City. By Saturday, the downpour had subsided, but a colossal cleanup continued and the state maintained an emergency declaration.
An estimated 9.06 inches of rain fell on Valley Stream, followed by the area around Kennedy Airport, which was hit with 8.89 inches. Kennedy's rainfall surpassed the record for any September day set during Hurricane Donna in 1960, said John Murray, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Upton. No historical figures for Valley Stream were immediately available.
Jocelyn Zamor, 40, recalled Cornwell Avenue in Valley Stream looking “like an ocean” and cars becoming stranded in the road.
“It was kind of scary to watch,” he said: Water rose halfway up the fire hydrant.
Standing in the driveway of his Valley Stream home on Saturday, Jason Hall, 40, held up a red toolbox as murky water drained out onto the ground.
“Brand-new,” he said.
The toolbox was one of several items inside his garage damaged by the floodwaters, along with speakers and an elliptical exercise machine.
His home, at the corner of East Maple Street and Cornwell Avenue, was in an area that got hit particularly hard by floodwaters.
“This is the worst since I’ve been here,” said Hall, who has lived there for five years.
His daughter Malia’s 7th birthday was Monday, and the family had planned a party for Sunday in the backyard. Now they had to cancel.
In a residential neighborhood of Woodmere on Saturday morning, residents described the deluge of water as the worst since Superstorm Sandy.
“It was a disaster. This whole thing was a river,” said David Jakubowitz, 50, who has lived in his Woodmere home since 2003.
He described nearly getting stuck in his Honda Odyssey on Friday as water crept as high as the top of his hood. Several homes sustained water damage in basements and floods knocked down a homeowner’s fence at the corner of Derby Avenue and Ibsen Street.
Sixty residents who had been evacuated from the Westover Gardens senior housing complex center Friday were being housed at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said during a news conference in Atlantic Beach on Saturday. The residents were among about 100 people taken out of the Elmont complex on Friday after more than 2 feet of water seeped into basements.
The rain also caused some sewer pipe failures but no service interruptions, Blakeman said. A sewer line overflowed on Barnes Avenue in Baldwin on Friday night but the issue was being addressed, according to Legis. Debra Mulé (D-Freeport).
Low-lying properties near the waterfront continued to be at risk of up to a foot of flooding in southern Nassau and southern Queens until early Sunday, according to Murray. Significant beach erosion was also expected during high tide, with breaking waves getting as high as 6 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
There were no injuries reported, but people were rescued from potentially life-threatening circumstances.
During the height of the storm, which spanned roughly six hours, the 71 volunteer fire departments of Nassau County responded to more than 280 emergency calls, including water rescues of cars stuck on roadways, said Michael F. Uttaro, Nassau's chief fire marshal.
Suffolk volunteer fire departments also dispatched additional ambulance and high-axle vehicles, while the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control sent two swift water rescue teams that assisted with several emergencies, Uttaro said.
Twenty-eight water rescues were conducted on Long Island and the Hudson Valley, Gov. Kathy Hochul said.
The state of emergency that was issued for Long Island, New York City and the Hudson Valley will last another six days, Hochul announced, speaking at a news briefing Saturday at an MTA control center in Manhattan. The extension allows her to suspend laws and other barriers to a swift recovery and to deploy resources where needed. It is also a “trigger” for seeking reimbursement from the federal government, although she said reimbursement was not guaranteed.
There were no storm-related changes to Long Island Rail Road service, but there were previously scheduled changes due to maintenance such as switch and concrete tie installation, according to the MTA website.
Brad Bonnen, owner of iFlooded Restoration, based in Mineola, said it felt like a "war zone" as his company fielded more than 250 calls from residents and businesses in the metro area on Friday.
“We're still getting calls but it definitely slowed down today,” Bonnen said Saturday.
Sunday is forecast to be sunny, with a high temperature near 75 degrees, and a low near 60 degrees later.
Rain isn't forecast again until Friday.