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Queens Chronicle

Flash flooding shuts Grand Central, Van Wyck

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Posted: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:24 am | Updated: 2:27 am, Thu Oct 11, 2012.

It was a tough day to get across Queens by car. 

Wednesday morning's torrential downpours caused flash flooding in Queens, shutting down two of the borough's major highways for a large part of the afternoon and causing a traffic nightmare.

The downpours that hit Queens shortly before 11 a.m. caused flooding that forced the complete closure of the Long Island Expressway at 164th Street in Flushing. The highway remained closed for over an hour before reopening shortly after 2 p.m.

But the situation on the Grand Central Parkway was worse. The highway was shut down between the Long Island Expressway and the Kew Gardens interchange due to severe flooding right before the Exit 13W. The area is a notorious spot for floods during heavy downpours. The water also blocked two of the three westbound lanes, causing traffic to back up as far as Nassau County. By 3 p.m., eastbound traffic was at a standstill almost to the RFK Bridge.

Drivers looking to use the Van Wyck Expressway as an alternative also found flood waters blocking their path. It was been closed southbound at Exit 6 in Jamaica due to flooding. On the northbound side, flooding closed the ramp to the Grand Central Parkway. 

Residual delays also tied up the the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Northern, Woodhaven and Queens boulevards.

All roadways were reopened by 4:15 p.m.

According to the National Weather Service, over two inches of rain fell on Queens between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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