PHILADELPHIA -- Tropical Storm Fay has wrung out heavy rains turning streets in Shore towns into a version of Venice by the sea, triggering flood warnings on the mainland, setting a rainfall record Philadelphia, and inundated parts of South Jersey with over 5 inches of rain.
Fay made landfall just north of Atlantic City shortly before 5 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said, quite close to where Sandy arrived on land in 2012, the last time a named storm came ashore in the Garden State.
Along the way it generated heavy rains from the beaches to Philadelphia's western suburbs.
Flooding closed the westbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway from the Vine Expressway to Spring Garden, and both the Pennypack and Frankford Creeks sloshed over their banks.
At Atlantic City nearly 2.5 inches had fallen by lunchtime, and about half of that between 9 and 10 a.m.; street flooding was widespread at the Shore, affecting Ocean City, Margate, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, and other towns popular with mainland vacationers.
By 4 p.m., just over 3 inches of rain had been measured officially at Philadelphia International Airport, a record for a July 10; the old record was 2.99, set in 1931. In Gloucester County, as much as 5.28 inches was reported.
The weather service also warned that "isolated" tornadoes were possible at the Shore, where gusts up to 49 mph have been measured at the Shore.
The rains have closed portions of Route 322 at Hamilton Township and Route 47 near Route 9 in Rio Grande. NJ Transit's River Line service in Camden was also suspended. Two vehicles were reported to be stranded in high water at Ridge and West Hunting Park Avenues, and the weather service reported a water rescue near Rosetree and Sandy Bank Roads, in Upper Providence Township, Delaware County.
Water temperatures near 80 helped give the storm extra energy to throw back heavy rain bands to the mainland, said Jim Eberwine, former weather service marine forecaster and now the Absecon emergency coordinator.
At 4 p.m., Fay was just about 5 miles from making landfall, probably near or on Long Beach Island, said Alex Starrman, a meteorologist at the weather service office in Mount Holly. Its peak gusts had reached 60 mph -- higher than had been forecast, and its path slightly more westward. Philadelphia reported a tropical-storm force gusts, 37 mph, which was a surprise.