Record Rainfall Swamps New York City And The Tri-State Area

One of New York City’s wettest days in decades flooded streets, highways, and homes while causing disruptions to subway, train and air travel.

The National Weather Service says it’s preliminarily the wettest calendar day on record (since 1948) at JFK Airport with more than 8 inches falling since midnight. The previous record was set during Hurricane Donna in September 1960.

Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency for the city as more than a half-foot of rain fell in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.

“Some of our subways are flooded and it is extremely difficult to move around the city. Many of our area airports are experiencing delays,” the mayor said at a noon news conference. “If you are out and encounter a flooded area, roadway or subway station, do not enter and take necessary precautions. This is a dangerous weather condition and it is not over. I dont’ want the gaps in heavy rain to give the appearance it is over. It is not. We could see eight inches of rain before the day is over.”

Traffic was at a standstill, with water above cars’ tires, on a stretch of the FDR Drive – a major artery along the east side of Manhattan. Some drivers abandoned their vehicles.

Priscilla Fontallio said she had been stranded in her car, which was on a piece of the highway that wasn’t flooded but wasn’t moving, for three hours.

“Never seen anything like this in my life,” she said.

Photos and video posted on social media showed water pouring into streets, subway stations, and basements.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul also declared a state of emergency because of the conditions not only in the city but also across Hudson Valley and Long Island.

“Flash flooding is unpredictable and individuals who think they can go about their normal lives and drive vehicles or even take the subway, need to be aware that there are major disruptions,” Governor Hochul told Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10. “Best to stay home if at all possible, but if you go into a vehicle you have a chance of being swept away and we lose more lives due to flooding events and people getting trapped in their vehicles.”

The deluge came two years after the remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped record-breaking rain on the Northeast and killed at least 13 people in New York City, mostly in flooded basement apartments. Although no deaths or severe injuries have been reported so far from Friday’s storm, it stirred frightening memories for some residents.

Brooklyn swamped by heavy rain

Brooklyn seemed to take the hardest hit in the morning.

On a street in the South Williamsburg neighborhood, workers were up to their knees in water as they tried to unclog a storm drain while cardboard and other debris floated by. Some people arranged milk crates and wooden boards to cross the flooded sidewalks.


More than 6 inches of rain had fallen in Brooklyn before noon, knocking out subway service and flooding streets.

A Brooklyn school was evacuated because its boiler was smoking, possibly because water had gotten into it, Schools Chancellor David Banks said at a news briefing.

In Brooklyn’s Crown Heights section, Jessie Lawrence said she awoke to the sound of rain dripping from the ceiling of her fourth-floor apartment. She set out a bowl to catch the drips but heard strange sounds outside her door.

“I opened my front door, and the water was coming in thicker and louder,” pouring into the hallway and flowing down the stairs, she said. Rain had pooled on the roof and was leaking through a skylight.

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