With Record-Breaking Rainfall on LI, Islip Declares State of Emergency

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After breaking the New York State record for most rainfall ever recorded in a 24-hour period, the Town of Islip in Suffolk County has declared a state of emergency.

Parts of Long Island received over 13 inches of rain overnight, trapping drivers and flooding roads. Suffolk County's police chief said one person died when an SUV was struck by a tractor trailer on the Long Island Expressway. Officials are urging drivers to stay off the roads so that emergency vehicles can get help to affected areas.

The National Weather Service said the amount of rain that fell on Long Island overnight is more than the area's normal total for the entire months of June, July and August. 

"It crushed the record for the day," said the service's Tim Morrin, adding that the amount was "more in tune with what you would see in about three months."

The slow-moving storm deluged towns across Long Island as well as southeastern Connecticut, leaving thousands of customers without power. The MacArthur airport in Islip received a record-breaking 13.12 inches of rain.

The weather pattern moved in Tuesday night, and by early Wednesday morning stretched from southwest Suffolk county on Long Island to southeastern Connecticut. Some roads were closed Wednesday from flooding, including parts of the Sunrise Highway and the Southern State Parkway near Babylon.

Total rainfall over Long Island in the 24 hours ending 3 p.m. August 13, 2014


Total rainfall over Long Island in the 24 hours ending 3 p.m. Aug. 13, 2014. The light blue represents the heaviest band of rainfall. (NOAA)

Islip resident Sara Candela said about a foot of water covered her block early Wednesday morning and that waters didn't recede until about 10 a.m. By the afternoon, residents were still waiting for major roads like Sunrise Highway to clear, helping each other to clean up after the worst of the storm. "Throughout the neighborhood there's just people walking around, and just cars parked randomly, wherever they can find a spot, to just stand around and hang out until the roads clear," she said.

Salaam Bhatti, who lives in a basement apartment in Bay Shore, said he woke up to weather alerts on his phone — and when he stepped out of bed, his foot hit water. "I quickly ran into the hall and I saw just water, everywhere, there was at least a quarter inch, half inch," he said. Bhatti said when Sandy hit, flooding came within half a mile, but did not reach his apartment.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said about 6,200 customers lost power at the height of the storm, and that electricity had been restored to all but 2,000 by Wednesday afternoon. Some highway closures remained in effect heading into the evening. The governor said the state's Emergency Operations Center has been activated to assist those in need.

With The Associated Press

Parts of Islip were under about a foot of water Wednesday morning (Matthew Breig).