8 Inches of Rain Swamp NYC

Workers narrowly escape death in flooding basement elevator
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2011 2:02 AM CDT
8 Inches of Rain Swamps NYC Record
Yankee Field is turned into a swamp as a game against the Tampa Bay Rays is rained out yesterday.   (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Two workers were saved from drowning in an elevator, cars were up to their windows in water, and subway service shut down in New York City yesterday, all because of a rainfall that shattered a 116-year record. An astonishing 7.7 inches of rain pelted the city in a single day. The normal rainfall for the entirety of August in New York is 4 inches. The tensest moments of the storm occurred for two construction workers moving material in a flooded building in Staten Island. When the elevator hit the basement, "water started rushing in," and the doors wouldn't open, one worker told the New York Daily News. "We thought we were dead."

As water quickly reached their waists, they held a cell phone through a hatch in the ceiling to get a strong enough signal to call for help. As one responding firefighter shut down power, others managed to free the men. "They were happy to see us," said one rescuer. (Read more rainwater stories.)

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