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MTA hopes to prevent flooding in subway system as New York City braces for storm

by Staff

NEW YORK — The MTA is trying to prevent the subway system from flooding Tuesday.

It feels like every time it rains, it pours in the New York City subway system. We’ve all seen those videos of what look like waterfalls pouring on to subway platforms.

The MTA, of course, tries to prevent that, and CBS New York’s Ali Bauman got a look of what they’re doing in flood-prone stations ahead of Tuesday’s storm.

MTA crews put down 50-pound trench covers atop some of the most flood-prone underground stations across the city.

There were dozens of yellow mats at the Borough Hall subway station in Brooklyn. Their job is to keep the water out of the vented grates to prevent people from getting rained on when they’re waiting on the platforms below.

Bauman also saw crews clearing out the subway drains within the station. Those drains pump millions of gallons of water out of the system every day, and the MTA made sure they’re are clear so Tuesday’s rain doesn’t accumulate underground.

“So they go out, they test all the drains. You saw them snaking out with the … rods to make sure that we can get the rods down, then they flush out the water, make sure all the drains are taking water,” said Marc Berman, superintendent of MTA facilities station maintenance.

Crews are pre-positioned along the subway lines, Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road to respond to any issues that pop up.

Storm causes closures & suspensions across New York City

The National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning across New York City in effect until 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, saying periods of heavy rainfall will cause widespread flooding.

Planes arriving into John F. Kennedy International Airport were delayed by more than three hours Tuesday evening, and LaGuardia Airport reported nearly 90-minute delays because of the weather. The Federal Aviation Administration advises all travelers to check on the status of their flights. 

  • More than 300 flights were delayed at LaGuardia Airport, and more than 100 flights were canceled there. 
  • More than 200 flights were delayed at Newark Liberty International Airport, and more than 90 flights were canceled there. 
  • More than 260 flights were delayed at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and more than 60 flights were canceled there. 

The New York City Department of Emergency Management is warning of 2 to 3 inches of heavy rain, wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and moderate coastal flooding.

Mayor Eric Adams activated the city’s flash flood emergency plan, and a travel advisory has been issued from Tuesday in Wednesday. 

The MTA is also issuing a ban on empty tractor trailers on its bridges as of 6 p.m. Tuesday. The ban is expected to last until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Pedestrian walkways at the Cross Bay Bridge and Marine Parkway Bridge will also be closed during this time.

All tractor trailers, house trailers, motorcycles, step vans, cars pulling trailers and minibuses are banned from the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge due to high winds.

The weather is also causing problems on the New York City Ferry. Service on the Rockaway and St. George routes have been temporarily suspended because of the high winds. NYC Ferry did not say how long they would be closed but said customers can check their website at for any updates.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island both closed early Tuesday and plan to open late Wednesday. The first visitor sail from Battery Park will be at 10:10 a.m.

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