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Record rainfall soaks East Coast

APTOPIX Severe Weather Maryland

A truck reaches a flooded section of Interstate 695 Tuesday in Baltimore after heavy rains fell across the Mid-Atlantic region. AP Photo

By
From page A2 | August 13, 2014 |

BALTIMORE (AP) — Not since 1933 has Baltimore recorded a rainfall that matched Tuesday’s deluge.

Meteorologist Jason Elliott with the National Weather Service said that the 6.3 inches recorded at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is the highest total recorded for the city in a single day since a 1933 hurricane that measured 7.6 inches. Tuesday’s rainfall also marks the second-highest total since measurements were first taken in 1871.

The rainfall caused flash flooding Tuesday that necessitated several water rescues around the state and caused flooding in low-lying areas in Annapolis and elsewhere.

The good news, Elliott said, is that the heaviest rain occurred in areas close to the Chesapeake, where rivers can more easily drain into the bay.

Farther north, the storm dumped an entire summer’s worth of rain on parts of Long Island, stranding drivers in roads flooded with door-handle-high water.

From Tuesday evening until Wednesday morning, Islip got more than 12 inches of rain, more than the normal total for June, July and August of 11.75 inches, said Joe Pollina of the National Weather Service. More than 5 inches of it fell in just a one-hour period, from 5 to 6 a.m. Wednesday, Pollina said.

The flooding wreaked havoc on the morning commute.

“Many roads are flooded and driving is treacherous,” Riverhead officials said in a statement. “There are numerous abandoned vehicles.”

Parts of the Southern State Parkway were closed around Baldwin and about 20 miles east in Deer Park.

By midmorning, the water subsided in Deer Park and traffic began moving again along a road surface coated with a slippery-looking film of oil, dirt and grass.

For many, though, the headaches remained. Several dozen abandoned cars were strewn along the grassy shoulder.

Juan Ortiz of Brentwood was standing on an overpass next to his disabled vehicle waiting for a friend, six hours after he became stranded. At first, he had navigated puddles on the parkway “with no problem.” But then, “out of nowhere, I passed underneath this overpass. … I just ran into a lake” about 3 to 4 feet deep.

He said he thought, “What the hell’s goin’ on?” then got out of his car and pushed it up a ramp and onto the overpass. He saw other people in similar straits and helped out as much as he could. “It was ridiculous,” said Ortiz, adding that he hadn’t heard warnings about flooding.

The storm that passed over the Northeast left dumped varying amounts of rain. New York City ranged from under an inch in Central Park to over 3 inches at Kennedy Airport. And parts of New Jersey also got more than 7 inches of rain. Several homes were evacuated in Millville, New Jersey, because of flooding.

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