The thunderstorms Thursday evening caused flash flooding in Manhattan beach the Bronx that submerged at least one subway stop with waist-high water and soaked several others as traffic on busy roadways came to halt. The rains prompted flash flood and severe thunderstorm warnings from the National Weather Service. Some pockets of the city saw nearly 3 to 3.5 inches of rain Thursday, according to weather service data.
Elsa had not yet reached New York when the flooding started but the tropical storm is expected to bring even more rainfall to the city, which had seen another severe thunderstorm Wednesday evening. More than a dozen people were rescued from vehicles that got stuck on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, police said, and parts of Harlem River Drive also temporarily closed due to the floods. Photos and videos shared on social media showed cars in several inches of water, yet still driving through the drenched roads.
At the No. 1 station on West 157th Street in upper Manhattan, subway riders trekked into waist-high waters in attempts to catch their trains. Videos showed one woman stepping into the murky waters of a flooded station while another man tried to walk through with a garbage bag around his legs. At other stations, videos and photos showed water pouring down stairs or leaking through the ceiling. Sarah Feinberg, interim president of New York City Transit, said crews were working to address issues as the water receded. “Drains are working remarkably well,” she said in a tweet. Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for mayor, blamed the flooding issues on “bad spending decisions for decades” and called for “green infrastructure to absorb flash storm runoff.”