NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Tropical Storm Fay slammed New Jersey with high winds and unpredictable downpours.
In Jersey City and Newark, multiple cars were stuck in several feet of water.
Police in New Jersey's largest city had to help several stranded on Freylinghuysen Avenue, where the water was deceivingly deep. Uber driver and mechanic Robert Francis admits he should have known better than to try to make it across.
"It was deeper than I thought, basically what it was, and it almost made it but it stopped where that car is inundated right now, and I had to push it over to here," he told CBS2's Jessica Layton.
Huge trucks plowed through, but smaller vehicles were no match for the mess. One man who was trapped for more than an hour would occasionally pop his head out of his sunroof to check fro a tow.
In Jersey City, pictures posted to social media show a firefighter trudging through the water with a driver over his shoulder, and a Hackensack Fire high water truck powered through the pouring rain to help two people and a cat stuck inside a vehicle.
In Sea Bright, it went from clear blue skies to torrential rains and back again in just an hour.
The wind was so deafening, the rain so brutal along the Jersey Shore, even the seagulls flew off in search for shelter. Surfers on Seaside Beach quickly abandoned their plans after seeing the ominous skies Friday morning.
"I saw some guy this morning spearfishing and he was like struggling to keep his hand in the water," said Morris Dweck of Allenhurst.
"I had to get out after getting nearly injured on one of the big waves," said Jacob Eliau.
From Wildwood to Avalon, Tropical Storm Fay left streets and even cars partially submerged. In Neptune City, flash flooding temporarily closed down an intersection of Route 35, but some cars still risked driving through, barely making the other side. The sheriff warned residents the danger is still not over.
Watch: Tropical Storm Fay Hits The Jersey Shore
"We're talking about maybe some swirling winds and tornadoes later on. I mean, as you can hear, it has really picked up outside and we're expecting these high winds throughout the afternoon," said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.
In Belmar, the torrential downpour quickly overwhelmed clogged storm drains on residential streets. Neighbors scrambled to bring in their belongings.
"Just put my plants away, walked around the house, tried to clean it up. Make sure nothing blows away," one person said.
Cono Trezza who lost his Sea Bright pizzeria during Sandy, says he's not worried about the storm wiping out his storefront this time. It's the financial impact he says that will devastating. The tropical storm is crushing one of the few weekends he has left since COVID-19 ravaged the rest.
"Not good, not good, because of the rain," Trezza said.
Social media photos already show flooding in parts of the Garden State, including Wildwood, Avalon and Stone Harbor.
"They said throughout the day, for the entire day, it's supposed to continue," one person told CBS2's Christina Fan.
"It's just one thing after another. But, we're dealing with it, coping with it," said another.
Streets were deserted and the boardwalk empty further up the shore on Route 71 in Belmar.
Several shore towns, like Stone Harbor, were ankle deep.
Residents said, while they're used to storms and know how to prepare for flooding, visitors might get caught.
"Just put my plants away, walked around the house, tried to clean it up, make sure nothing's gonna blow away," said a resident.
Reporting Power Outages
In New York City, the rain started around 12 p.m.
"Bearing down on us, right now, we have a tropical storm," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday. "We need people to be ready for that."
He urged restaurants to take precautions.
"Tonight's not going to be a great night for outdoor dining. Get your furniture and umbrellas and everything in so they don't go flying and create a new kind of danger," he said.
Beachgoers should also be cautious of rough surf and strong waves both Friday and Saturday.
SEE IT: Time-Lapse Shows Tropical Storm Fay Churning Over New York City
for more features.