Heavy Rains Briefly Close Roads and Highways in Queens

By Tuan NguyenPaul DeBenedetto and Wil Cruz  | August 1, 2012 1:09pm

QUEENS — Several highways and roads in Queens were flooded Wednesday afternoon as heavy downpours hit the borough.

Three lanes of the Grand Central Parkway were closed in both directions at the Jackie Robinson and Van Wyck interchange, the state Department of Transportation said. Vehicles are using the shoulder to get through, according to an agency spokesman.

"S/B Van Wyck @Exit 6 & E/B Grand Central Pkway btw LIE and Jewel Ave closed due to flooding," it tweeted about 12:30 p.m. "Expect delays."

The Long Island Expressway was briefly closed at Francis Lewis Boulevard, the city's Office of Emergency Management said, and a spokesman for the DOT confirmed that the expressway was also closed in both directions at Utopia Parkway.

The LIE was reopened around 1:20 p.m., but heavy delays are expected, the spokesman said.

The FDNY said firefighters responded to 164th Street and 71st Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway from Northern Boulevard down to Jewel Avenue, a spokesman said.

Fire officials added that a person was trapped in a car at 188th Street near the L.I.E., and three cars were stuck on the Grand Central Parkway near exit 11 due to flooding.

The rains came as the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The rainfall was sweeping through Staten Island and making its up to Brooklyn and Queens, dropping one to two inches of rain in a 90-minute span, the National Weather Service said. The service issued the warning through 2 p.m., said meteorologist Joey Picca.

The rains have already caused closures to some highways in Queens, including

Showers and thunderstorms were expected through the rest of the day, Picca said.