New York area deals with heat after storms

December 15, 2010 10:56:11 AM PST
Flash floods left their mark on the Tri-State Friday night as oppressive heat moved into the area.

New York City has more than 200 cooling centers open to help residents battle the heat. CLICK HERE to find a cooling center.

Fast-moving storm roared its way across most of our area, prompting tornado warnings. Many drivers were caught off guard by the heavy rains, and it was slow going in on the FDR in Harlem.

The waters rose quickly in many areas, trapping people in cars.

Rescue crews strapped a life vest on one driver, springing him from the roof of his car in Paterson, New Jersey.

"It was like a river," Wael Muheisen said. "At first, it was shallow. There wasn't even an inch of water. So I figured, alright, I can pass through it. And my engine just locked."

Muheisen was on his way home from work when he drove in what he thought was shallow water on Beckwith Street, near State Street, in Paterson. But it quickly rose over his windshield and into his car, forcing him onto the roof.

"It was like I was on a sail boat," he said.

One family of three ended up on top of their bakery van.

"I was with my dad and girlfriend in our bakery van and we got stuck," Richard Sanchez said.

"It's a big car. I didn't think we were going to get trapped," Laura Ocampo said.

There was lighting, wind and rain as the storms began to roll through New Jersey. Bogota got their share of high water, and emergency crews in Paterson had to navigate flooded streets as they raced to calls during the storm's aftermath.

There is a warning for those who head to the beach Saturday that there could be dangerously strong rip currents. Swimmers are advised to only head into the water where a lifeguard is on duty.