Those who were looking for some relief from the heat earlier in the week got it in droves Thursday — and it was more than the New York City subway or many roads across the tri-state could handle.
Sudden and heavy downpours started hitting the NYC area Thursday afternoon, leading to frequent flash flooding.
The deluge of rain wreaked havoc for some who were looking to ride the subway. Social media was full of videos showing rushing water pour into stations across the city. One rider took videos showing riders wading through dark, cloudy water up to their waists at the 157th Street station along the 1 line.
On the street above the station, water levels rose above people's knees as they stood in the crosswalk.
The MTA said they had crews looking into the flooding issues in stations. The transit agency said that they have "hardened stations in coastal flooding zones, but when streets above flood, water will always flow downhill," advising customers not to enter flooded stations.
That explanation wasn't enough for the projected Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams, who said "this is what happens when the MTA makes bad spending decisions for decades." He went on to say that funds that would come from congestion pricing would be used to protect stations from street flooding.
Some subway lines were not running due to flooding at stations, making those lines that were still running even more crowded and chaotic. And while some stations weren't flooded, water was so backed up it was coming up from the drains below.
There were also reports of downed trees and power lines in Monmouth County, which was among multiple counties to have a severe thunderstorm warning issued during the evening. Video from a Ring doorbell camera showed the destructive winds that accompanied some of the storms, as items on a porch and lawn were left strewn about after a strong gust.
Lightning that was part of a storm over Queens around 5 p.m. struck a transformer at a Con Edison facility in Astoria, leading to a small fire. No outages or impacts on service were reported, however.
Hail was also fairly frequent throughout the region late Thursday afternoon. Towns in Bergen County reported golf ball- or quarter-sized hail at one point, while some was reported in Hillsdale that was as big as a tennis ball.
Video showed flooding on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Morris Heights neighborhood of the Bronx, with water levels just over some vehicles' tires as others were stuck with the street flooded ahead of them. As a result of the flooding, the lower level of the George Washington Bridge into New York saw delays of more than an hour.
Other videos showed flooding on Harlem River Drive similarly making roads impassable.
Flooding was a primary concern for Hackensack into the evening, as multiple streets in the flood-prone area became traps for drivers who thought their cars could make it through a couple feet of water.
As of 2 a.m., the storms led to more than 10,200 power outages throughout the tri-state, most (8,500) of which were in New Jersey. Those outages come as the tri-state is waiting on the remnants of Elsa to arrive, which promise to deliver a couple more inches of rain to the already-saturated area.