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Heavy rain floods several subway tracks in Brooklyn, Manhattan ahead of Tropical Storm Henri

An MTA worker pumps out a subway station.
MTA/New York City Transit

The MTA rerouted or suspended trains at several subway stations in Brooklyn and Manhattan Saturday night into Sunday morning as record-breaking rainfall inundated the city ahead of Tropical Storm Henri.

Water got on the tracks inside at least six stations, including Jay Street-MetroTech, 86 St, Court Street, Utica Av in Brooklyn, and Chambers St and 79 St in Manhattan, according to the MTA.

Saturday evening registered the wettest hour on record in New York City, with 1.94 inches of rain falling between 10-11 p.m. in Central Park, according to the National Weather Service. 

Debris, which subway officials previously said was a fallen tree branch, on the Q train tracks just south of Prospect Park forced MTA to reroute the subways to the D line between just after 10 p.m. Saturday and 1:40 a.m.

At the Lexington Avenue stop on the N line, cables caught fire just before 12:45 a.m. Sunday, which caused service cuts through about 2:30 a.m.

Trains were suspended on the 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains near the Franklin Av-Medgar Evers in Brooklyn between about 3 a.m.-6:30 a.m., while firefighters had to deal with a smoking third rail caused by water intrusion.

One Brooklyn straphanger filmed water leaking through the roofs and ceilings along the G line at Fourth Avenue/Ninth Street subway station and at Greenpoint Av in Brooklyn Saturday night.

By Sunday morning, subway service largely resumed with some remaining delays and reroutes, and three bus lines have been diverted due to the weather, said acting MTA chief Janno Lieber at a press conference with outgoing governor Andrew Cuomo.

The mass transit agency has called in staff to help pump out stations, clear drains, and plug vents in low-lying stations, according to Lieber.

“This is a huge emergency and we are, as always, prioritizing the safety of the customers and our employees,” said the transit guru. “Literally thousands of MTA staffers have been summoned back to work to engage in the preparations for this storm.”

The agency banned empty tractor-trailer trucks from the Verrazzano-Narrows bridge Saturday night and suspended commuter railroads on eastern Long Island and parts of the Metro-North railroad in the storm’s pathway.

Some 2.5 inches of rain are expected in the Five Boroughs thanks to Henri, which made landfall in Rhode Island late Sunday morning.

Airports have seen numerous flights canceled, with 23% of trips called off at LaGuardia, 11% at JFK, and 22% at Newark, according to Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority.

The bi-state authority has also banned empty tractor trailers on its bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey and is monitoring the situation for any possible closures on the George Washington Bridge.

Lieber advised New Yorkers to check the MTA website or MYmta app for updates and to stay home if possible. 

“If you don’t need to travel please stay home, and if you absolutely, absolutely must travel in the city please take mass transit,” said the MTA head. 

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