Powerful nor'easter brings heavy rain to New York area

HAUPPAUGE, Long Island (WABC) -- Severe weather moved into the New York area Wednesday as a nor'easter brought torrential rain to the region.

Flood and wind alerts were in effect from North Carolina to Maine, with the heaviest rain arriving for major cities in the Northeast around the evening rush hours.

Click here for the latest watches and warnings from the National Weather Service.

The brunt of the storm hit the New York area after 5:00 p.m. and was expected to wind down overnight.

Up to 4 inches of rain is possible in northern New York state, with most areas getting 1 to 3 inches.

The highest threat for flash flooding will be from northern New Jersey into northern New York.

"Heavy rain and strong gusts of wind will likely impact wide areas across the state, and I urge all New Yorkers in the affected regions to use extra caution in the coming days," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "We have state personnel and resources on standby and are prepared to help communities handle whatever Mother Nature throws our way."

As the storm strengthened, winds picked up, which may result in airline delays and cancellations. Some areas, especially along the Jersey coast and Long Island, could see wind gusts that could reach 50 to 60 mph Wednesday night through Thursday morning.

Residents along the coastline were urged to travel with extreme caution and prepare for the possibility of difficult road conditions.

There was a possibility that the nor'easter could rapidly strengthen and drop 32 millibars in 24 hours, which would classify this storm as a "bomb cyclone." A storm's "bomb cyclone" status is determined by how quickly the pressure within the storm plummets, and the threshold is at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

This pressure drop will most likely happen as the storm moves over New England, creating pressure conditions comparable to a Category 2 hurricane.

RELATED: What is a 'bomb cyclone'?

Driving tips:
--Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
--Do not underestimate the destructive power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car. Water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
--Leave early to avoid being marooned on flooded roads.
--Follow recommended routes. Do not ignore emergency detours to view flooded areas.
--As you travel, monitor NOAA Weather Radio and local radio broadcasts for the latest information.
--Watch for washed-out roads, earth-slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and falling or fallen objects.
--Watch for areas where rivers or streams may suddenly rise and flood, such as highway dips, bridges, and low areas.
--If you are in your car and water begins to rise rapidly around you, abandon the vehicle immediately.

Tips to prepare for flooding and severe weather:
--Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are issued on a county basis.
--Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
--Develop and practice a 'family escape' plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
--Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
--Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers
--Plan what to do with your pets.
--Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.
--Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
--Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
--Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing

Disaster supplies on hand should include:
--Flashlight and extra batteries
--Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
--First aid kit and manual
--Emergency food and water
--Non-electric can opener
--Essential medicines
--Checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards

For more safety tips for all types of weather events, visit the DHSES website.

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