Updated 08/01/2012 07:34 PM
Flash Floods Catch New Yorkers By Surprise
Some Queens residents were forced to pump water out of their homes after severe storms swept through the borough Wednesday afternoon. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
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With water gushing in and then out of their basements and garages, residents needed more than a bucket to clear the mess away.
Residents of Utopia Parkway said the downpour overwhelmed their street in a matter of minutes. One resident spent hours with his uncle using garbage cans to bail water out of their basement apartment.
"We just moved into this neighborhood about 3 weeks ago and that caught us by surprise," one resident said.
Even longtime Fresh Meadows residents who are used to flooding were stunned.
"The water was too quick and the amount was so much," said one.
The majority of the homes between 65th and 69th Avenues had some type of water damage. Some filled up several feet. A lot of cars were also submerged in the water.
"My car, my personal belongings, my pocketbook, my ID, my license plates. Everything is gone," said one resident. "Destroyed. I had water up to here. I was panicked. I thought I was going to drown."
Other parts of the borough were also flooded. At 164th Street and 71st Avenue, cars and furniture were shifted by the high waters.
"All of a sudden, the water comes rushing in like the great flood and you're wondering what's going and you realize the water is getting higher, higher and higher," said one resident. "At that point, people started to panic a little bit."
The flooded residents are frustrated. They said heavy rains caused the street to flood several times in 2008 and 2009 after they claimed the sewers backed up.
"They have water accumulating there all the time so I think it's a sewer problem," said one resident. "The city should fix it."
The Department of Environmental Protection said whenever there is a storm like this, there is going to be urban flooding. But residents of the areas flooded Wednesday are tired of it happening to them.