Photo courtesy of ConEdison
A lightning strike during the Aug. 7 storm.

Updated on Aug. 8 at 1:35 p.m.

The severe thunderstorm that ripped through Queens on Aug. 7 left flooded streets, power outages and three people struck by lightning in its wake.

According to multiple reports, two men were playing soccer in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night when the lightning struck. The two were reportedly taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center where one of the men was in critical condition and the other sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Just before 8 p.m., reports of another lightning strike victim surfaced. According to FDNY officials, a single victim was struck near 155th Street and Baisley Boulevard in Jamaica. The victim sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to Jamaica Hospital Center.

The storm came faster than people could prepare for, and unfortunately that meant the National Night Out Against Crime celebrations throughout the borough were cut short. In Middle Village, approximately 20 minutes after three NYPD helicopters landed on the baseball fields at Juniper Valley Park, the sudden torrential downpour and dangerously close lightning sent hundreds of people running for shelter.

Councilman Robert Holden later confirmed on Facebook that approximately 1,800 homes in the Middle Village area lost power during the storm.

According to ConEdison spokesperson Allan Drury, there were approximately 2,800 outages in Queens as of 7 p.m. on Aug. 7. The areas with the most outages included Richmond Hill, Maspeth, Jamaica and Flushing. By midnight, power had been restored to most customers, with about 480 outages remaining at that time.

The flooding beneath the Cooper Avenue underpass after the Aug. 7 storm, with the top of a submerged vehicle visible (Photo: Matthew Whittington)

The flooding beneath the Cooper Avenue underpass after the Aug. 7 storm, with the top of a submerged vehicle visible (Photo by Matthew Whittington)

In Glendale, an old problem resurfaced when the underpass on Cooper Avenue near 71st Avenue flooded, shutting down traffic and submerging a car in the process. Local resident Angelica Hill, who claimed to be the sister of the driver of the car, said in a post on Facebook that “the sewer cap popped off” under the pressure of the heavy rainfall.

Hill added that her uncle and two police officers rushed to put the sewer cap back on and get the driver and his girlfriend to safety.

The underpass severely flooded back in 2007 shutting down traffic for several days, and again in 2012 while it was being reconstructed. Both floods were triggered by severe thunderstorms that quickly dumped several inches of rain on the area in a short span of time.

Community Board 5 Chair Vincent Arcuri explained that excessive runoff from sewers in the surrounding streets likely caused the Cooper Avenue sewer to become overwhelmed. There is a pump station nearby, but it shuts itself off to avoid burning out when the workload becomes too great, Arcuri said.

The chairman also pointed out that significant flooding occurred nearby on 76th Street between 77th Avenue and 78th Avenue, affecting every house on the block.

Many more people took to social media to post photos and videos of the storm as well, including a video that revealed a rapid flow of water on Queens Boulevard and another showing several cloud-to-ground lightning bolts.


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Lee August 08, 2018 / 05:32PM
Photo of the fire caused by lightening hitting power line by Juniper Park in Middle Village

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Lee August 08, 2018 / 05:28PM
Lightening hit a power line in Middle Village starting a fire on Dry Harbor Road

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