Record-setting rains doused the tri-state area overnight, causing flash flooding and power outages, downing trees, forcing evacuations in one storm-stricken New Jersey town and turning at least one New York highway into a river that swallowed abandoned cars, many with their hazard lights still blinking.
The National Weather Service described flooding across parts of Suffolk County as a "dangerous and life-threatening" situation, and flash flood warnings were in effect there through the morning as the powerful rain system moved out of the region.
In Islip, more than 5 inches of rain fell in one hour Wednesday morning. The town has seen more than 13 inches so far, smashing the previous record for daily rainfall of 6.7 inches set on Aug. 24, 1990.
The Long Island Rail Road says the rough weather is impacting its Wednesday morning rush. It was reporting system-wide delays of up to 30 minutes and customers were advised to expect lingering delays throughout the morning. Westbound service was suspended on the Far Rockaway Branch between Far Rockaway and Valley Stream due to flooding.
The system drenched the entire region, with the Jersey shore, Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau and Suffolk counties seeing the largest rain totals.
Ocean County in New Jersey also saw 7 inches of rainfall. More than 5 inches fell in both Farmingdale, New York, and in Monmouth County, New Jersey. New York City saw much lower totals, with John F. Kennedy Airport seeing the most rain at 3.1 inches.
In Suffolk County, fire crews had to be dispatched in boats to rescue drivers trapped on waterlogged roads. The Southern State Parkway also had to be closed in the county after several inches of water surprised early-morning drivers, stranding them on the highway.
The rains caused power outages throughout the tri-state area, and there were several reports of downed trees and road closures.
One homeowner in Union, New Jersey, said she was awakened by her husband telling her a tree had fallen on their house.
"I was like, 'No, go back to bed, what are you talking about,'" she said. "He was like, 'No, really, the tree's on the house. Get out of bed.'"
highest rainfall total ever recorded, with 9 inches falling and causing widespread street flooding Tuesday night.
As much as 5 feet of water flooded some of the town’s streets and caused several houses to collapse, according to the Red Cross. Several families in that town were displaced.
No injuries related to the storm have been reported.
The rain should move out of the region by mid-morning, with skies clearing by midday, Storm Team 4 says. Another bout of scattered thunderstorms is possible Wednesday evening.
After that, skies should stay clear through Saturday, with highs each day hitting the 80s. Scattered storms are again a possibility on Sunday.