Torrential rains across Long Island broke a New York state record on Wednesday with over thirteen inches in less than twenty four hours. That's the highest amount of rainfall since Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said on Wednesday that in just four hours, Long Island’s infrastructure became inundated with water.
“The drainage systems in the county and you find similar numbers throughout the municipal systems are designed to sustain a 5 inch storm over a 24 hour period," Bellone said. "This was 13 inches within several hours.”
Lieutenant Timothy Harrington from the North Babylon Fire Department said he rescued nearly fifty people who were stranded on the Southern State Parkway.
“We had occupants climbing out of windows of vehicles as they couldn’t open the doors, the vehicles some of the water was over the vehicles roofs.” Harrington said.
In some of those cases, rescuers had to use rafts to get drivers to safety.
Floodwaters for the most part have receded from the torrential rains but some roads remained impassable on Thursday morning as the cleanup continued. The storms nationally have been blamed for at least four deaths, including a man whose SUV was hit by a tractor trailer at the storm's height on the Long Island Expressway.