Record-Breaking Rain In New York City Causes Traffic Mess, Power Outages, Near Elevator Drowning
7.79 inches of rain fell at JFK International Airport Sunday, breaking the single day record for rainfall in New York City, The Staten Island Advance reports. The previous record, 6.27 inches, was set in June 1984.
By way of comparison, the average rainfall for the entire month of August is 4 inches.
The Yankees game was rained out, people in Long Island were seen riding rowboats down the street, cars on Staten Island were nearly submerged in flooding water, 2,000 Con Ed customers lost power, a giant sinkhole appeared on Narrows Road and Targee Avenue, a towing company pulled 11 cars from deep water underneath a train trestle near Ainsworth Avenue, there was a 14-mile traffic jam on the New Jersey Turnpike and perhaps most dramatically, two Staten Island construction workers almost died in an elevator drowning.
On Staten Island, firefighters rescued two construction workers who got trapped in a stalled elevator rapidly filling with water.
"We thought we were dead," said one of the rescued men, Ed Tyler, 26, of Milltown, N.J. "I literally thought I was going to die."
Tyler and Wendell Amaker, 48, of Roselle, N.J., were using the elevator to move material in a hotel being turned into senior housing. When the doors stopped opening, they rode down to the basement to see if they could get out - not knowing the basement had flooded.
"We felt it hit the water," Tyler said. "Immediately, the water started rushing in."
The water rose past their waists as they held a cell phone through a ceiling hatch to get a strong enough signal to call 911.
One firefighter went to the roof and shut down power to the elevator while the rest of the team opened the door to the shaft with a universal key.
The two men were uninjured.
In Manhattan, the Dominican Day parade went on despite the deluge although the crowds were smaller than normal.
“The weather’s fine,” Candy Turbi, 16, from Castle Hill in the Bronx, who did not have an umbrella or a raincoat, told the New York Times. “After the music comes, everybody forgets about it anyway.”
Flash flood warnings in New York City and the surrounding areas are still in effect for Monday, until 9 pm.