New York

Flooding Shuts Down Battery Park Underpass, Causes Traffic Nightmare

Separately, a water main break on the Van Wyck Expressway caused major delays near JFK

Flooding forced authorities to briefly shut down the Battery Park Underpass in both directions as the peak rush got underway Wednesday morning, causing several bus lines to be diverted and creating heavy delays.

Extensive traffic was reported in the Manhattan-bound Hugh Carey Tunnel, where a disabled vehicle compounded problems from rising waters. Traffic cameras showed a significant amount of water covering the pavement on the FDR near exit 1 as cars and school buses navigated the area with caution. 

The flooding had cleared and the underpass was reopened in both directions by about 7:45 a.m., less than half an hour after it was closed, but lingering traffic delays were expected through the morning commute. An accident on the FDR Drive at 42nd Street before 8 a.m. didn't bode well for improvement.

At least six MTA bus lines were being detoured because of the water accumulation, including the X2, X5, X31, X37, X38 and X42. They resumed their regular routes by 8 a.m. 

The closures came amid a two-day period of wet, raw weather that socked the tri-state area with heavy rains and gusty winds for the latter part of the day Tuesday into Wednesday morning. Showers are expected to taper off later in the day, but by the time they move out, a widespread half inch to 1.5 inches of rain will have fallen on the area, forecasters say.

Traffic delays were reported elsewhere in the city; a water main break on the Van Wyck Expressway, prompting road closures and heavy delays leading to JFK Airport. Travelers were advised to take the AirTrain. And for rail riders, NJ Transit and Amtrak continue to warn of regular delays lasting into next week for people who commute in and out of New York's Penn Station.

Storm Team 4 expects the latter half of the work week to be a stunner. Temperatures rebound to the mid- to upper 60s by Wednesday afternoon and are forecast to hit the high 70s by the weekend with some sun and clouds mixing in ahead of another chance for thunderstorms Sunday.

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