Central Park Sets a Rainfall Record

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U.S.|Central Park sets a rainfall record.


People carried umbrellas in lower Manhattan on Sunday morning as the city prepared for Tropical Storm Henri.
Credit...Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Nate Schweber

  • Aug. 22, 2021Updated 11:34 a.m. ET

In the dark hours as Henri churned in the Atlantic below Eastern Long Island and New England, New York City was deluged by historic rainfall.

In Central Park, 1.94 inches of rain fell between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday, the most in a single hour at that location “since record keeping began” in the 19th century, according to the National Weather Service.

The 4.45 inches that fell in Central Park on Saturday was also an overall record for Aug. 21, the service said. Around the city and across northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut, three to six inches of rain fell overnight.

The storm crippled parts of the region’s mass transit system. As of 9 a.m. Sunday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had suspended train service on five of seven Metro-North Railroad lines and had partly suspended service on Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk and Ronkonkoma lines.

Portions of the New York City subway on the 1 and 3 lines were suspended because of flooding, though service has since resumed. The three airports serving New York City also experienced the effects of the storm, as more than 20 percent of flights were canceled at La Guardia and Newark airports on Sunday and more than 10 percent were canceled at Kennedy Airport, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates them.

Social media was inundated with images of roadways turned to rivers with cars pushing through them, washed nearly to their headlights.

The National Weather Service reported overnight flash floods in Crown Heights, Bay Ridge, Battery Park, Harlem and on the Throggs Neck Bridge, as well as around Long Island and New Jersey.

Late Saturday night, a few hundred hardy attendees of the ill-fated Homecoming Concert in Central Park sheltered in a backstage tent hoping for an acoustic performance on a makeshift stage from rock stars who had yet to perform.

After hinting at the possibility around 10 p.m., a poncho-clad Mayor Bill de Blasio returned 20 minutes later and said, “we have to ask everybody to go home because the rain keeps coming.”

The fans who had come to hear songs from their favorite records exited into record rainfall.

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