NYC warned of floods as heavy rain, damaging winds wallop tri-state amid peak holiday travel

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NEW YORK — A flood watch and wind advisory were in effect for New York City Friday as a powerful storm slams the tri-state area with heavy rainfall just as holiday travel hits its peak.

The National Weather Service earlier issued a flash flood warning for the five boroughs; New York's Richmond and western Nassau counties; and New Jersey's Hudson and southeastern Bergen counties. Up to an inch of rain fell in those areas when the alert was issued at 7:47 a.m., and an additional 1 to 2 inches is possible, the weather service said at the time.

The warning was set to last through 10:45 a.m., but was canceled early, at 9:41 a.m. The weather service asks that anyone experiencing flash floods or road closures contact them.

A flash flood warning remains in effect for southern Connecticut until 2:45 p.m., and an additional 1 to 1 1/2 inches of rain is possible.

In the five boroughs, northeast New Jersey and southern Connecticut, a flood watch will remain in effect through "late tonight," according to the weather service.

A wind advisory for NYC, Long Island, coastal Connecticut and the New Jersey shore is in effect until 6 p.m. Friday. Strong winds are in the forecast, with gusts up to 45 mph or higher possible. These conditions may blow down tree limbs, trees, and power lines. Scattered power outages are possible.

A wind advisory is issued when sustained winds of 31 mph to 39 mph, or gusts of 46 mph to 57 mph are expected or occurring. Winds this strong can make driving in open areas and on elevated roads and bridges difficult for large vehicles like trucks, vans, and SUVs. Those driving are asked to use extra caution.

The NYC Emergency Management Department also issued a travel advisory for Friday — four days before Christmas.

A flood watch was issued for northern Connecticut, northeast New Jersey, including Passaic, Hudson, Bergen, Essex and Union counties and in, and southeast New York, including NYC, Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties. These areas continue to face the threat of flooding in urban, low-lying and poor-drainage areas.

The storm first rolled through late Thursday afternoon,  when AAA predicted the worst holiday travel time in NYC — Thursday between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.

While some may enjoy the warmer than average temperatures, as highs crept to 50 degrees Thursday and will rise to 60 degrees Friday, wet weather will put a damper on the relief from the cold.

The tri-state area could see 2 to 3 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, potentially causing  flooding, according to the National Weather Service. Southeast winds of 20 to 35 miles per hour, with gusts of to 45 mph, may also bring down trees and power lines.

The heavy rain will lessen to showers on Friday as a warm front lifts across the region. It will still be a nasty, damp day with rain possible throughout. Late in the day, there could another round a heavy rain as a secondary system passes through the region before the precipitation tapers off Saturday morning.

New Yorkers should prepare for slippery road conditions, and should exercise caution when driving, walking, or biking. In any area, motorists are advised not to drive through flood waters.

The Department of Transportation designated Thursday and Friday Gridlock Alert Days. Whether traveling for work, errands or recreation, please consider taking public transportation whenever possible.

A coastal flood advisory was earlier issued for possible flooding in low-lying areas along the shore in southern Westchester County, the Bronx, northwestern Suffolk County, and northern Queens and Nassau County Friday morning. It expired at 11 a.m.

Saturday looks to be dry with temperatures trailing downward from the lower 50s. Sunday will see highs in the mid 40s under sunny skies.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, it doesn't look like we will get a White Christmas. A weak system will pass to the north bringing some clouds for Christmas Eve. High pressure behind it clears us out for Christmas Day. Highs will be in the low to mid 40s.

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