NEW YORK (WABC) -- Communities around the Tri-State are feeling the effects of the season's first nor'easter as the system bears down on the area with heavy rain and high winds.
Steady rain and gusty winds moved into the region before dawn, with much more expected in the morning ahead.
States of emergency have been declared in both New York and New Jersey. Flash flood warnings are in now effect in several parts of the region, and a flood watch was expanded across the region with up to 6 inches expected in flood-prone areas and wind gusts as high as 30-40 mph or more.
WATCH | Latest AccuWeather forecast:
New York City
Residents in across the city, and in Queens in particular, took steps to prepare, even as the first rain arrived Monday night.
Tuesday morning, some residents woke up to a big mess. In Jackson Heights, a huge tree toppled onto several cars near 35th Avenue and 72nd Street.
Martin Quinn says he came out this morning to move his car because of alternate side parking rule, when he found the destruction.
Quinn said he's just thankful that neither he nor anyone else was injured.
Heavy rain prompted closures along the Bronx River Parkway. Main Street was shut down in both directions.
And the northbound and southbound stretch of County Center to the Sprain Brook Parkway was also closed.
The city said crews were continuing to monitor flooding conditions in high-risk flood areas.
It was just weeks ago that flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida hit communities in Queens especially hard, killing three people in their own homes.
People in that area are still healing emotionally and financially, even as this latest storm batters the region.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city ordered teams to the area ahead of the nor'easter to clean out catch basins, ridding them of any debris to help minimize flooding.
Tuesday morning de Blasio thanked crews who worked to protect flood-prone areas.
"Some folks went the extra mile," said the mayor. "Custodial staff at schools... we had about 250 schools around the city where there was potential for flooding. Staff stayed overnight to make sure there were no problems. Thankfully all those schools opened fully. We had teams out dropping off sandbags around key areas, particularly in Queens. 4,500 catch basins were cleaned by DEP. Sanitation has been out there. Everyone has been doing a great job dealing with this challenge."
In New Jersey, several school districts decided to close ahead of this major rain event, and here's why.
They had issues with buildings flooding during the last big rain storm in September, from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
School Closings | Find out which schools are closed in your district
This time, they've decided not to take any chances, canceling all in-person and remote classes for Tuesday.
Across the state, 30 people died during Ida. Many of them drowned while trapped in their cars.
Heavy rain and wind arrived early Tuesday on Long Island, and power crews were standing by even as people there continue to deal with damage from the last major storm.
Residents were preparing for another 24 hours of heavy rain.
A State of Emergency was declared in Suffolk County just after noon Tuesday.
In Nassau County, the Office of Emergency Management has been activated, ensuring coordination between municipal agencies, transit agencies, the Red Cross throughout the county.
In addition, Nassau County Police, medics and Marine Units are fully staffed and equipped to handle any potential disaster situation.
Officials advised residents to monitor news reports and be prepared to make alternate travel plans.
Tidal flooding remains a particular concern in Long Island communities, especially in the wake of Hurricanes Henri and Ida earlier this season.
States of Emergency declared ahead of storm
New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a State of Emergency Monday evening ahead of the nor'easter.
"I am proactively declaring a State of Emergency to ensure we can provide the necessary resources to respond to this storm and protect lives and property in regions where the forecast is calling for significant rainfall," Governor Hochul said. "I am encouraging New Yorkers to prepare now for inclement weather expected over the coming days and urging commuters to take precaution ahead of heavy rainfall expected tomorrow morning."
New York City Emergency Management has issued a travel advisory in response to the storm.
"This event may cause flooding in the city, including on highways, streets, underpasses, as well as other poor drainage or low-lying spots," NYC Emergency Management Incoming Acting Commissioner Andrew D'Amora said. "New Yorkers should give themselves additional travel time and take the appropriate precautions if they must move about the city during the storm."
MTA officials say they've deployed large numbers of crews from New York City Transit, Metro North, LIRR and the bridges and tunnels team in strategic places to respond to flash flooding.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also issued a State of Emergency for New Jersey that went into effect at 8 p.m. on Monday.
"The anticipated Nor'easter storm is forecasted to bring significant flash flooding, coastal flooding, and wind gusts across New Jersey," Murphy said. "Residents should stay off the roads, remain vigilant, and follow all safety protocols."
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