Sinkholes swallow parked cars after drenching storms slam NYC

Powerful thunderstorms that unleashed torrential rain and copious amounts of thunder and lightning Monday afternoon and evening across the middle leg of the Northeast's Interstate 95 corridor caused all manner of chaos on city and suburban streets. Flash flooding was a major problem in and around the New York City metro area as well as on the subways as 24-hour rainfall totals topped 4 inches in some of the hardest-hit places.

In one of the more dramatic scenes from around New York City, a large sinkhole that opened up in the hours after the deluge was seen on video swallowing a white van in the Bronx, one of New York City's five boroughs. Onlookers could be heard gasping in the video as the van plunged into the widening hole.

Antonio Papadoboulos had owned the van for 15 years before it was claimed by the sinkhole, Spectrum News 1 NY reported. When asked if he was nervous watching the sinkhole claim his van, a seemingly unfazed Papadoboulos told Spectrum News that he was "just going to buy a new one."

While sinkhole occurrences are more common in wetter tropical locations, the flooding downpours that overtook the New York City area Monday could be to blame.

The city's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said its workers were looking into all potential causes of the sinkhole, which includes yesterday's severe weather.

By Tuesday, city workers began repairing the gaping hole in the street. According to The Associated Press, the van was lifted from the depths of the sinkhole and Papadoboulos was able to drive the vehicle away from the scene.  PIX 11, a local TV news station, reported that there were no injuries associated with the sinkhole, according to officials.

An entire day of rain was to blame for numerous travel distributions and flash floods.

AccuWeather meteorologists began warning late last week for the threat of flash flooding to accompany rounds of wet weather across the Northeast.

Showers and thunderstorms erupted early Monday morning, and although the rain was well-needed, it dampened the morning commute. In the most recent update from the U.S. Drought Monitor, New York County, which is home to New York City, was classified as "abnormally dry."

According to the National Weather Service, 0.84 of an inch of rain fell in Central Park in New York City Monday morning.

By Monday afternoon, another round of showers and thunderstorms took aim at the city, and these storms were packed with moisture, quickly dropping more than half an inch of rain in some locations.

Rainfall totals from Monday into Tuesday soared over 4 inches in numerous areas. North of New York City in Tarrytown, New York, the National Weather Service recorded 4.31 inches of rain Monday, which increased to 4.79 inches into Tuesday. Armonk, New York, about 10 miles northeast of Tarrytown, recorded 4.66 inches of rain into Tuesday.

Other top measurements Monday into Tuesday were reported in Tenafly, New Jersey (4.58 inches); Bergenfield, New Jersey (4.57 inches) and Abbot Village, Maine (4.29 inches).

The quick-hitting rain impacted transportation in and around New York City during the evening commute. Clogged drains led to flooded roadways, and extensive delays were reported for the city's subway system.

The quick-hitting rain impacted transportation in and around New York City during the evening commute.

Extreme meteorologist Reed Timmer captured drone footage from above that showed numerous cars stuck on the road in the area. Streets looked more like a river from the bird's-eye view in his footage.

Water rescues were underway in northeast New Jersey Monday afternoon, as meteorologists with the New York office of the National Weather Service reminded residents to never drive through flooded roadways. Floodwaters were also seen pouring onto the roads of Yonkers, just outside of New York City.

Police and fire officials in the city of Hackensack, New Jersey, 20 miles northwest of New York City, drove through flooded streets to rescue residents trapped in their vehicles from the rising waters. In Bergen County, home to Hackensack, floodwaters rose dangerously high in a video taken from nearby Fair Lawn.

It didn't take long for the water to seep into New York City's subway system. As many people were trying to get home Monday evening, extensive delays were reported for the city's subway system.

The water could be seen pouring onto the subway tracks from above in a video shared on social media.

"This is NYC every time it rains hard now," one Twitter user wrote.

Another person shared a video titled "waterfall" as water rushed down the steps of a Queen's subway station.

"One clogged drain can back up an entire street," New York City Transportation Subway wrote on Twitter. "When the streets above look like this storm water inevitably makes its way to our tracks."

The subway service was restored just in time for the Tuesday morning commute, according to ABC7.


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This will not be the last threat for the New York City area this week, as another potent storm system is poised to move around the northeastern edges of an expansive heat dome and reach the Northeast by Wednesday. The system is already responsible for unsettled weather in the northern Plains, and that will be set to continue farther east.

More heavy rainfall is possible for Thursday when the storms are forecast to continue a trek eastward into coastal areas. Some of the thunderstorms will also be on the stronger side, with locally damaging winds possible.

"Despite a storm track positioned to the north, the intensity of this storm system will allow heavier rain and storms to extend well toward the south," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde explained.

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