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Heavy rain drenches Queens neighborhoods, causing extreme flash flooding throughout the borough

Sep. 29, 2023 By Anthony Medina

Amid possibly the heaviest downfall of rain in the city so far this year, residents in Queens neighborhoods were subjected to the unexpected closures of highways, some public transportation services, and substantial flooding in residential areas.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flash flood warning for neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan as a result of predicted heavy rainfall on Friday, Sept. 29. The flash flood alert warned early today of heavy rain, accumulating close to 2 to 3 inches of every hour — expected to remain in effect until 2:45 p.m.

As rain conditions worsened, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for the city Friday morning and ensured city patrons of swift action from the state. Mayor Eric Adams also cautioned New Yorkers regarding the dangerous weather conditions.

“I want to say to all New Yorkers, this is time for heightened alertness and extreme caution. If you are home, stay home. If you are at work or school, shelter in place for now. Some of our subways are flooded and it’s extremely difficult to move around the city,” said Adams. “This is a time for caution, but it’s also a time for community. Check on neighbors … check on your friends, relatives and especially those who are most vulnerable, such as the elderly and individuals with health conditions.”

During a press conference held late Friday morning, Adams said he visited Brooklyn locations earlier in the day to assess the flooding conditions, including the areas of East New York, Flatbush Canarsie and Sheepshead Bay, but no Queens neighborhoods were listed.

Under the Broadway station in Astoria, Queens.Photo by Michael Dorgan

At the height of the flash floods, the NWS shared that all lanes on the Cross Island Parkway were closed in both directions at Bell Boulevard in Queens. All Westbound lanes on the Grand Central Parkway were also closed at 86th Street and the BQE was forced to shut down in both directions at Queens Boulevard.

The BQE completely submerged in water at 65th Place in Queens.Photo courtesy of Soti Ris via Facebook

Public transportation, including MTA services, was extremely limited due to the heavy flooding touching down in the city. Subway riders were cautious about expecting service suspensions on subway stations by the MTA.

Parts of the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, D, F, M, L, N, R, Q lines were suspended as a result of the downpour, with the B,G,W, SF, and SR trains fully suspended. Riders faced delays on the 6, A, C, E, Z, S, and Staten Island Railway lines, with full-service status updates fluctuating.

Transit suspensions, delays, and shutdowns across MTA subway stations in Queens due to extreme flooding conditions across the borough.Photo by Michael Dorgan

Air travelers going through LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports were advised to check the status of their flight throughout the day, prior to arriving at the airport. Departures from John F. Kennedy International were delayed by an average of 15 minutes and increasing, while LaGuardia Airport was open and operating with Terminal A closed, according to information shared with QNS by the Port Authority.

Additional information from the Port Authority confirmed all Spirit Airlines and Frontier flights were canceled through 4 a.m on Saturday, Sept. 30. — a decision made at the airline’s discretion. Airline customer service representatives were deployed to assist customers who were moved from Terminal A.

Spirit Airlines canceled all flights until 3 p.m. out of Terminal A, Frontier Airlines operated two additional flights of Terminal C and airlines were hard at work with customers to rebook flights, the Port Authority added.

The Department of Transportation also suspended alternate-side parking rules from Friday, Sept. 29, to Sunday, Oct. 1.

Some private schools in Queens decided to close due to the rain conditions, including Middle Village Prep and Christ the King High School. The New York Department of Education did not make the call to close public schools early.

On the grounds next to the John Adams High School in Ozone Park, rain accumulation created a pool of dirt and water.Photo by Anthony Medina

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said on X (formerly known as Twitter) that he has discussed the borough’s response to the flooding with Gov. Hochul.

“I just got off the phone with @GovKathyHochul about how Queens is handling today’s storm and what we need to do long term to address flooding issues in this borough,” he wrote. “Thank you, Governor, for your work and for your administration’s diligence in responding to this storm.”

The heavy flooding conditions across the borough were shared over various social media accounts, showcasing the nearly historic rainfall in parts of Queens and other affected areas.

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Flooded streets at 48th Street and 37th Avenue in Woodside on Friday morning, Sept. 29.Photo courtesy of Remy K Cromwell via Facebook

Flooded streets at 48th Street and 37th Avenue in Woodside on Friday morning, Sept. 29.Photo courtesy of Remy K Cromwell via Facebook

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