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Newark Streets Flooded As Heavy Downpours Move Through Tri-State Area

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Severe weather slammed the Tri-State Area on Saturday, and heavy downpours flooded streets, leaving cars underwater.

Newark officials said they responded to multiple rescues in the city Saturday because of severe flooding.

As CBS2's Cory James reports, there were several feet of floodwater on McClellan Street right by the Amtrak bridge, covering at least three vehicles, including a van.

Crews from Engine 19 were worried someone was trapped inside, but as first responders suited up and pulled the raft off their truck bed, a man showed up, saying it was his vehicle and no one else was inside.

He said he tried driving through the floodwater, but his car shut off.

"He swimmed up to the middle," a woman translated. "It was horrible, but he did it at last."

Two women happened to be in their car heading to order food when water started to quickly rise.

"It was foggy. We couldn't see. The roads were already flooded on ... Frelinghuysen, all of Frelinghuysen was flooded. We couldn't see. We literally got out because we knew we weren't going to be able to order food," Newark resident Alexis Brown said.

"It gets like that all the time, all the time," Newark resident Anijae Johnson said.

With so many crews tied up and spread out, some residents took matters into their own hands, rolling things like abandoned tires and chairs to block access to flooded roads.

A New Jersey Transit bus got stuck in floodwater under an overpass on Meeker Avenue between Elizabeth and Frelinghuysen avenues just before 4 p.m.

It was a moment tow truck driver Brian Dargnt will never forget.

"The bus got trapped in the water for, we were there for a good two, three hours," he said.

Twenty-two people were on board, including the bus driver and passenger. They were all rescued by firefighters on a boat after climbing through the hatch on the roof of the bus.

"It was something different. It was something different. It felt like it was going to be another hurricane," Dargnt said.

Transit officials say no one was injured.

City officials say a private bus taking patients to a kidney care center could not take the patients home because of flooded streets in the area.

Newark Police transported about five patients to another location, and they were then taken home. A dialysis patient was taken to a local hospital for further treatment.

A spokesperson for the city of Newark says police, firefighters and crews from the office of emergency management were "deployed to conduct rescues and divert traffic in flooded areas."

Authorities say those areas were mainly in the Ironbound section of the city and industrial areas of the South and East Wards.

One of those locations is near Ferry and Merchant streets. Video shows driver driving through rising waters.

City officials are advising people to avoid flooded streets and ask for residents to be patient while they respond to calls.

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