August 13, 2014

Time for politicians to get off their asses and start spending some money to prepare for this kind of extreme weather:

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.

A motorist on the Long Island Expressway was killed when the driver swerved and hit a tractor-trailer and guard rail; the vehicle burst into flames upon impact, authorities said. The fatal accident was the only weather-related death; the tractor-trailer had minor injuries. No other storm-related injuries have been reported.

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. Town of Islip Supervisor Tom Croci declared a state of emergency for the town to assist flood relief efforts.

The rough weather crippled the morning commute for Long Island Rail Road riders. The LIRR was reporting system-wide delays of up to 30 minutes and customers were advised to expect lingering delays throughout the morning. Service on the Port Jefferson branch was suspended for hours in both directions between Port Jefferson and Huntington, and later, between Port Jefferson and Kings Part, because of flooding east of the station in Smithtown. Westbound service was suspended on the Far Rockaway Branch for a time but has since resumed.

The system drenched the entire region, with the Jersey shore, Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau and Suffolk counties seeing the largest rain totals.

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