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NEW YORK — Damaging downpours dumped more than 5 inches of rain across the city early Friday, snarling travel on land and at the airports with the nasty weather expected to last all day and Gov. Kathy Hochul declaring New York City was in a state of emergency.
A flash flood warning was in place for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, said the National Weather Service, warning of rain continuing for hours and the threat of continued flooding on highways, streets and underpasses. Major havoc was reported in city subways as 3 to 5 inches of rain was expected across the region, with the possibility of up to 8 inches before the storm disappeared, according to the NWS.
“The city is bullseye with this band of rain,” said NWS meteorologist Dominic Ramunni, warning of additional flash flooding as the day goes on.
The governor and Mayor Eric Adams, who also declared the city under a state of emergency, held a news conference to address the ongoing wicked weather that forced cancellation of her ribbon-cutting appearance at Hostos Community College in the Bronx to unveil new campus facilities.
“This is something that we cannot take lightly, and we have not taken lightly,” said Adams, urging New Yorkers to stay indoors, check in with friends and family and stay off the roads.
“This is a dangerous weather condition, and it’s not over,” the mayor said, warning additional rain was likely. “If you’re home, stay home. This is a time for caution.”
There were multiple rescues of people trapped in cars, FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. There were also six basement apartments that were flooded and firefighters made successful rescues at all of them.
There are no fatalities and no critical injuries.
New Yorkers citywide awoke to find daunting roadblocks as their morning routines turned into nightmares, with two dozen subway lines suspended, re-routed or delayed. A half-dozen people were pulled from flooded basements by the FDNY, with another nine rescued from trapped vehicles: Four on the Belt Parkway, two on the FDR Drive, two more on the Prospect Expressway and one from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
“It’s pouring,” said Queens mom Naomi Pena, whose 13-year-old son waited for a school 6 a.m. bus that never arrived before taking him to school by cab. “It’s not a little drizzle. It’s a downpour. You’re showing up to school completely wet.”
Commuter Milton Amoroso was running late for work on a Brooklyn-bound A train, with his typical 25-minute trip from Washington Heights to Fulton Street taking nearly 2 1/2 hours.
“Today is one of the worst it’s been,” said Amoroso, a 30-year-old veteran commuter. “There’s no express train, it’s all local. I see it raining in the station, a lot! they make enough money to fix it.”
Hochul declared a State of Emergency in the five boroughs, the Hudson Valley and Long Island in response to the dangerous weather conditions expected to continue into early Saturday.
“I have directed all state agencies to provide all necessary resources to address this extreme weather event,” said Hochul in a statement. “It is critical that all New Yorkers take all necessary precautions and avoid flooded roads, which are some of the most dangerous places during flash floods.”
New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency asking for a quick response to a possible major disaster assistance request from New York State.
“With so many New Yorkers affected, we urge FEMA to stand ready to participate in a Preliminary Damage Assessment with state and local officials,” the two Democrats wrote.
A state of emergency was declared later Friday across suburban Westchester County due to hazardous conditions.
MTA subway service on all lines was suspended or delayed Friday due to flooding on the tracks during the morning downpour. with the agency reporting service suspensions, partial suspensions, delays and rerouting of some trains.
“There are no trains!” announced a station worker at the Franklin Ave. station in Brooklyn. “There are no trains at the station!”
Weary straphangers, including 40-year-old Jewel Bradshaw, were instead directed to a nearby city bus to avoid a wet walk of 12 blocks to the closest subway station.
“I’ve been waiting an hour,” she said, adding the cost of an Uber to an appointment was more than $40.
It was not immediately clear how many stations in the subway system were flooded, but MTA alerts indicated flooding at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden station in Crown Heights had also halted the Franklin Ave. S train.
That station also serves the Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 lines as the Franklin Ave. stop.
Brooklyn service was also suspended on the F train, and the G train was not running south of Bedford-Nostrand Ave. due to water on the tracks. Flooding has also swamped the Newkirk Ave.-Little Haiti and President St.-Medgar Evers College stations on the 4 and 5 lines and the 4th Ave. and 9th St. station on the F and G lines.
The MTA also suspended northbound service on the B train Friday, after flooding at the Newkirk Plaza station in Flatbush. Rainfall also knocked out the southern end of the N train, with no service between Coney Island – Stillwell Ave. and Kings Highway.
Flooding also shut down the Staten Island railroad south of Huguenot shortly before 9:30 a.m.