DEP pumps water overnight after storm overwhelms Staten Island with flash flooding

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Neighborhoods experience extreme flooding on Staten Island
AJ Ross has the story.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (WABC) -- The Department of Environmental Protection spent much of the night pumping out water in the south beach section of staten island.

Residents said it's a recurring issue with the sewer system overwhelmed around Doty Avenue and father Capodonno Boulevard.

The burst of rain over Staten Island caused flash flooding Wednesday afternoon, leading to some rescue efforts. It hit the island just before 5 p.m., and water levels rose very quickly in some areas.

Meteorologist Lee Goldberg captured an image of the sky and radar as the rain started coming down:

Eyewitness News viewers sent in photos and video of high water.

This video shows raging flood waters on Bement Avenue and Jones Place in the West Brighton section of Staten Island:

This one is from the intersection of Midland Avenue and Hylan Boulevard, and shows what appears to be several inches of water:

And this is a look at the Staten Island Expressway:

The entire block of Doty Avenue was impassable with nearly a dozen parked cars under water. Frustrated neighbors said they've seen it all too often and they've been begging city officials to make upgrades to the drainage system here for years.

"An inch or 2 inches of water and this is what you get all the time. We've been suffering for many, many, years," a resident said.

In less than an hour, Anthony Bernardez says he was faced with a foot and a half of water gushing into his basement. "As of right now we've lost all the flooring, some furnishings, and I didn't have a chance to assess the damage yet because there's still a lot of water down in the basement now," Bernardez said.

It's an overwhelming sight longtime neighbors say they've become used to and even anxious about any time rain is in the forecast.

"I lost five cars already," said Veronica Nicholas, a neighbor. "We immediately even in the middle of the night if we hear a thunder storm or whatever everybody is on their toes to get their car off the block."

However despite repeated calls to 311 and city officials over the years, neighbors say they haven't seen any improvements to their drainage system and they're hoping it doesn't take another big hit from Mother Nature before changes can happen.

"We want the authorities to understand that this is about the sewers, our sewers cannot handle it," said Betty Matos, a neighbor. "Police come by, the DEP comes by, the building department, and it's like they just stop by, look, leave."

"It's heartbreaking. All that work and all that time and money and then this keeps happening," said Jeanine Valentino, a neighbor.

Parts of Manhattan also saw some rain, but not quite at the rate of Staten Island:

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