At least one person is dead in what is being described as a once-in-a-200-year storm that caught the Northeast completely off-guard, CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers reports.
The record-setting storm was hitting Maine Thursday morning. Portland got a record six inches of rain since Wednesday. Across the state, nearly 8,000 homes and businesses were without power.
The same system dumped more than a foot of rain Wednesday in New York. What felt like an endless deluge drenched parts of the state. At one point, more than 10 inches of rain fell in two hours.
Local officials admitted this area was not designed to sustain this kind of weather event.
"The event that occurred today was unprecedented," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. "The drainage systems in the county, and you'd find similar numbers throughout the municipal systems, are designed to sustain a 5-inch storm over a 24-hour period. This was 13 inches within several hours."
For some residents, the rare flooding bought back memories of Superstorm Sandy that pummeled the area just two years ago.
"It's like devastation all over again," said one resident. "I think it's actually worse than Sandy. Over by us we had overturn cars; one guy was bleeding, his windshield caved in."
Hundreds of cars were completely submerged, and drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles.
"We got here, and the water was just overwhelming, the cars are all getting stuck, floating actually," one witness said.
Firefighters rushed to save motorists stranded on the highway while drivers stood helpless outside their cars as the flooded roads bought traffic to a standstill.
"I wish I never left the house this morning, that's how I feel," said Donna Hill, who has lived on Long Island for 20 years. "I don't know if it's going to go any higher, but if it does we have a problem."
No significant power outages were reported, and as the water recedes, large-scale cleanup begins.