At least 18 people died in New York and the northeastern United States when the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought unexpected levels of heavy rain and flooding.
The deaths and injuries spread over large areas of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. Authorities blamed many of the deaths on the basement apartments filling with water.
Rivers and streams grew at record levels, roads were flooded, and transportation systems were severely affected.
The fierce storm, degraded from the hurricane that struck Louisiana in the southern US earlier in the week, also sparked tornadoes, including one that smashed houses and toppled silos in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, south of Philadelphia.
Videos shared on social media showed subway platforms in Manhattan and Brooklyn submerged by flooding and cars in the city struggling through flooded streets.
At least 18 people have died, according to the Associated Press. Reports of deaths included:
Nine people died in New York City, many of them when they were trapped in flooded basements, according to police.
Four people were found dead in an apartment complex in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the city’s mayor and spokesperson told local media.
Outside of Philadelphia, officials reported “multiple deaths,” and said additional details were not immediately available.
A 19-year-old man was killed in a flood at an apartment complex in Rockville, Maryland, police said.
In Passaic, New Jersey, a 70-year-old man was swept away after his family was rescued from his car, and reported drowning.
In Connecticut, a state trooper on duty and his patrol car were washed away by flooding Thursday morning in Woodbury, and the trooper was taken to a hospital, state police and local authorities said.
Rescuers were searching for more stranded people and preparing to potentially find more bodies.
The deaths in New York City included a 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and a two-year-old boy who were found unconscious and unconscious Wednesday night inside a home.
“We are enduring a historic weather event tonight with record city-wide rainfall, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio as he declared a state of emergency in New York City on Wednesday for the night.
The mayor’s warning came as the National Weather Service (NWS) office in New York issued its first set of flash flood emergencies in the region Wednesday night, alerts sent only in the most dangerous conditions.
“There is a lot of damage in New Jersey,” Murphy told ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday while discussing damage from flooding in the northern part of the state and tornadoes in the southern part of the state.
In New York City, officials banned all but emergency vehicles from travel until early Thursday morning and warned against unnecessary travel until morning. Some subway and train services resumed Thursday morning.
Newark International Airport closed Wednesday night when videos showed water running through a terminal. The airport allowed limited flights on Thursday.
Authorities said 370 flights have been canceled so far.
Amtrak service was canceled between Philadelphia and Boston, resuming its limited capacity Thursday morning. New Jersey Transit train service remained suspended with the exception of the Atlantic City line. The buses were running with countless cancellations and delays. Traffic officials cautioned against traveling unless it is “absolutely essential.”
Large floods along the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania flooded roads, submerged cars and disrupted rail service in the Philadelphia area.
At least 220,000 customers were without power in the region, with most of the outages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. More than 35,000 customers were without power Thursday morning in New York City, Long Island and their northern suburbs.
Connecticut police were investigating a report of a person missing due to flooding in Woodbury. In Plainville, Connecticut, authorities said they used boats to rescue 18 people from a flooded neighborhood.
The devastation in the northeast of the country comes after Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana on Sunday as the fifth-strongest storm to hit the continental United States, leaving 1 million people without power, perhaps for weeks.
New York City’s resistance to the floods was under scrutiny; this is the second time in recent weeks that subway stations and streets have been submerged in flooding.
The Biden administration has vowed to address climate change, but this week came under fire from environmental groups after resumption of drilling auctions for oil and gas exploration.
Early Thursday in New York City’s Central Park, about 10 trees were overturned on the south side and some localized flooding was caused by damaged structures blocking drains, but there was no significant damage otherwise.
The NWS recorded 3.15 inches (8.9 cm) of rain in Central Park in an hour Wednesday night, far exceeding the previously recorded maximum of 1.94 inches (4.9 cm) that fell in one hour. during Hurricane Henri on August 21. Scientists have warned that such weather extremes will become more common with man-made global warming.
Most of the subway stations in the residential area were open, but service was still extremely limited.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism