Seven dead as remnants of Hurricane Ida causes ‘historic’ flooding in New York

Extreme weather prompted the first ever flash-flood emergency warning from the National Weather Service

A motorist drives a car through a flooded expressway in Brooklyn, New York early on September 2, 2021, as flash flooding and record-breaking rainfall brought by the remnants of Storm Ida swept through the area. AFP

The remnants of Hurricane Ida smashed into the northeastern United States leaving at least thirteen dead and sparking flash flooding in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and cutting off power to 280,000 people.

New York state governor Kathy Hochul and city mayor Bill de Blasio have declared a state of emergency as the remnants of Storm Ida caused massive flooding in America’s financial and cultural capital.

The flash flooding has forced flight cancellations and also a declaration of state of emergency.

New York governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency as the remnants of the storm caused massive flooding in the country’s financial and cultural capital, leaving the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens badly hit.

Thirteen dead as Hurricane Idas remnants cause historic flooding in New York

Pedestrians take cover near Columbus Circle in New York as the remnants of Hurricane Ida remained powerful while moving along the Eastern seaboard. AP

“We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record-breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet as he declared a state of emergency in the city.

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled at nearby LaGuardia and JFK airports, as well as at Newark, where video showed a terminal inundated by rainwater.

Flooding has closed major roads across multiple boroughs including Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens.

Streets were transformed into rivers while the city’s subway stations were also flooded, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reported services were effectively shut down.

As footage showed cars submerged on streets across the city, authorities urged residents not drive on flooded roads. “You do not know how deep the water is and it is too dangerous,” the New York branch of the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a tweet.

New York resident George Bailey told the BBC that he hadn’t expected such severe flooding.

“Right in the middle of dinner I hear gurgling, and the water’s coming up out of the shower drain in our bathroom,” he said. “I went to check the main water line in the utility room, and by the time I walked back into the living room there was nearly a foot of water in the room already. It was incredible how fast it came through.”

The National Weather Service recorded 3.15 inches of rain in New York’s Central Park in one hour on Wednesday night, far surpassing the 1.94 inches that fell in one hour during Tropical Storm Henri on the night of 21 August, which was believed at the time to be the most ever recorded in the park.

A rare tornado warning was issued for the Bronx and parts of Westchester on Wednesday night.

Thirteen dead as Hurricane Idas remnants cause historic flooding in New York

Rainfall from Hurricane Ida flood the basement of a Kennedy Fried Chicken fast food restaurant in the Bronx borough of New York City. The once category 4 hurricane passed through New York City, dumping 3.15 inches of rain in the span of an hour at Central Park. AFP

New Jersey’s governor also declared a state of emergency due to the severe weather. “Stay off the roads, stay home, and stay safe,” Governor Phil Murphy said.

Passaic mayor Hector C Lora declared a state of emergency, one of several area cities to do so. He live-streamed the scene as cars were submerged up to their headlights in a flooded section of the city of around 70,000. Some cars were struck in the middle of the street.

Thirteen dead as Hurricane Idas remnants cause historic flooding in New York

Floodwater surrounds vehicles following heavy rain on an expressway in Brooklyn, New York. AFP

Passaic’s deputy chief of police Louis Gentile said that all kinds of vehicles had gotten stuck, and warned residents not to be fooled by thinking they have a powerful car.

“We have fire trucks stuck, we have ambulances stuck, we have people that are still stuck and not getting out of the water,” he said. “It’s very serious.”

At least one tornado struck Mullica Hill, New Jersey, forecasters said.

Inputs from agencies

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