Heavy rain strands drivers in flooded streets

Heavy rain poured down on Southern New England Wednesday, causing street flooding across the region.

Rescuers had to free a driver who drove into high water and became stranded at Oaklawn and Wilbur avenues in Cranston.

City officials said being careful in a situation like this can make all the difference.

"I saw the car go around (a) truck and literally just drive right into the water," said Rick Campanella.

Campanella owns a restaurant near the intersection and said he saw it all happen from the window of his business.

He said the city had trucks blocking off the area before it happened, but the driver ignored them and drove through the water anyway.

"I couldn't believe the car was trying to go through there. But they do it all the time. I don't know why they think they're able to go through water, but they do," Campanella said.

The driver was rescued, but the city said this is a problem area and that people need to go around when there is a backup of water like this.

"It's a low spot. It serves as almost like a bathtub, if you will," said Cranston highway superintendent John Corso.

Corso said the intersection is always a trouble spot when it rains heavily.

He said city trucks were in place before 8 a.m. Wednesday, but that didn't stop this particular driver from getting stuck.

"I just don't understand how, when you've got city big vehicles blocking a roadway, the cars still go around and drive into the water and then we've got to get police and fire to come and rescue them," Corso said.

Corso said the city's engineers are looking for a long-term solution to fix this issue, such as routing the water into storage and releasing it in a controlled manner.

For now, he said, workers are clearing out storm drains and basins to keep the water under control.

"Give us some time and Mother Nature's going to let it ease up a little. If it don't rain this hard, we're fine," Corso said. "If we get this flooding rain, there ain't much we can do."

He urged drivers to use common sense and avoid driving through high water.?