Queens residents clean up after overnight storm brings heavy rain, flash flooding

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Queens residents woke up to flooding in their homes and apartments after an overnight and early rainfall on Tuesday, Sept. 13. (Photo via Facebook/City Councilwoman Vickie Paladino)

Queens residents who were impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Ida last year are once again enduring flooding and property damage to their homes after an overnight thunderstorm into early Tuesday morning, Sept. 13, brought heavy rainfall and gusty winds to the region. 

A commuter alert was issued Tuesday morning as regional flooding was causing major problems on roadways. In a tweet, NYC Notify advised people to “not drive or walk where water covers the roadway,” and for those who live in a basement to move to a higher floor.  

In Queens, The NYPD Transportation Bureau had reported blocked lanes due to flooding. 

Residents in Woodside, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing and other parts of the borough woke up to intense flooding in their homes and apartments, sharing their frustration on social media. 

A video post on Facebook showed flooding on the Cross Island Parkway. One resident alerted others to stay away from the area, as motorists were stranded for about one to two hours on the road. 

In Whitestone, a resident shared that after extensive work on her basement after last year’s flooding and losing items that were of sentimental value, they were promised it wouldn’t happen again. 

“I woke up this morning to everything in my basement destroyed again,” the resident wrote on Facebook. “This is no way to live. I mentally and physically can’t do this again but I have to. What is going on here with the drainage? How many others have the same story as me?” 

Another resident encouraged those who were impacted by flooding to contact 311 with sewer complaints. 

“The city needs to get the sewer system cleaned out. There’s no reason for them to overflow the way they do,” he said. 

Alfredo Centola, president of the We Love Whitestone Civic Association, questioned when the city will begin to fix these issues in order to prevent flooding.   

“When will the city begin to clean out all the clogged drains? When will the city start enforcing the rules on mandatory grass areas on front and rear of homes?” Centola wrote on Facebook. “Ninety percent of new or remodeled construction is paving the mandatory green space forcing additional run-off onto the already poorly maintained sewers and streets. The Clearview Expressway by the Throgs Neck Bridge has been flooding for decades and NO ONE HAS done a thing to remedy the problem. Do we wait for a tragedy or two? We need to fix these issues.” 

City Councilwoman Vicki Paladino — who represents District 19, which includes the neighborhoods of Whitestone, College Point, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston and parts of North Flushing — visited her constituents’ homes that experienced flooding. 

(Photo via Facebook/City Councilwoman Vickie Paladino)

“My constituents are once again hard hit financially, as well as emotionally,” Paladino said. “It has been just one year and 10 days since Ida. Some, if not most, were just starting to recover. The calls I’ve placed and conversations I’ve had, a DEP official and I will be doing a thorough walk through to discuss and get started on solutions.” 

Paladino added that after speaking with the sanitation commissioner, all garbage would be picked up today. 

“City Hall has heard our voices for help and they are responding as such,” Paladino said. 

(Photo via Facebook/City Councilwoman Vickie Paladino)

In Flushing, City Councilwoman Sandra Ung checked in with families on Peck Avenue, where three people lost their lives in a flooded basement apartment in last year’s storm. 

“It is absolutely devastating to see our neighbors yet again struggling to clean out their flooded homes,” Ung said. “Fortunately, no lives were lost this time, but these homeowners deserve action before the next tragedy occurs. With climate change, we have to realize that extreme weather events are quickly becoming a regular occurrence. It is incumbent on all levels of government to act before more lives are lost.” 

Council Member Sandra Ung meets with residents affected by the flooding on Peck Avenue in Flushing. (Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Ung’s office)

Ung added that her office is working with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to organize a public meeting for the first week of October to discuss this issue with impacted residents and homeowners. 

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Councilwoman Lynn Schulman issued a joint statement on the flooding that occurred in their districts. 

“Many constituents who were working toward rebuilding their lives now face additional setbacks, and many who were not impacted by Ida must now deal with the damage caused to their properties,” the lawmakers said. “As we deal with the impacts of climate change, the threat of future floods will continue, which is why we need immediate action.” 

The Queens lawmakers said they’re doing everything they can to make sure the borough receives the proper funding to help mitigate flooding. 

“This includes getting the city and state to use money from the federal infrastructure bill that was signed into law late last year. It is crucial that a portion of the funding allocated for New York be used to address this problem here in our borough,” the lawmakers said. “Our offices have been in constant contact with city and state agencies, and we will continue to demand that these resources be used for things such as upgrading outdated sewers and catch basins so that our communities can be adequately protected from future storms.”

“Queens residents cannot continue rebuilding from one disaster to the next, only to wonder how much rain may fall. An immediate investment of infrastructure funding for needed upgrades will help save lives, and spare millions of people the economic burdens they face. This is the right thing to do, and it must be done,” the lawmakers added.