The blows of the tropical storm Ida they were furious this last night on the east coast of the United States. Waterspouts amid a powerful electrical storm and several tornadoes raged in neighboring New York and New Jersey, disrupting public transportation, including activity at Newark Airport in New Jersey. which serves as the third airfield in the megalopolis. New York City subway lines were disrupted as waterspouts raged through the mouths of stations to flood corridors and tracks. Passenger videos showed the stations flooded, with all kinds of filth floating in the water. The buses became amphibious vehicles while images of the food delivery men, forced to work with water at waist height, provoked numerous comments and criticism on social networks, such as those of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who denounced the selfishness of customers in such adverse circumstances.
It was not even two weeks since the passage of the tropical storm Henri, contemporary of the hurricane Grace Further south, it sparked images in New York City that, compared to this Wednesday, now seem anecdotal. The subway mouths of Lower Manhattan become a mousetrap when it rains – never better, due to the usual presence of rodents in the facilities – for users, but this Wednesday they were torrents. Manhattan District 7 Councilman Shaun Abreu recounted the reasons for the disaster on his Twitter account: garbage piled up on the vents and vents that were supposed to serve as drains; Obsolete infrastructures “for decades, which have reached the limit of their capacity” and the growing effect of climate change, with increasingly extreme manifestations of meteorological phenomena. “The responsibility for each of the causes is diluted between the different levels of the Administration (local, state and federal)”, criticized Abreu.
Another item, the dire financial condition of the New York municipal transportation agency (MTA) affects the lack of maintenance of the facilities and the insufficient quality of service, including sanitation and cleaning. At the end of 2019, immediately before the pandemic, the MTA was testing a system of flexible gates to prevent the roads from flooding in the event of heavy rains. With no known result for the moment, the councilor recalled this Wednesday.
The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, justified the declaration of the state of emergency, unprecedented until now due to a meteorological phenomenon, by considering the torrential rains on Wednesday as a “historic climatic event.” The state of emergency affects about 20 million people, just in this metropolis and its adjacent counties. According to the National Weather Service of the United States, this is the first time that a measure of this scope has been declared due to repeated floods in the cultural capital of the country, despite the fact that, in October 2012, the hurricane Sandy it also struck New York.
De Blasio urged the population not to go out into the streets. “Please don’t go outside tonight and let the emergency services do their job. If you are thinking of going out, don’t do it. Do not go out on the street. Do not drive in the middle of such violent waters. Stay inside [de sus casas]”He said on Twitter. Residents in the city received alerts several times throughout the night on their mobile phones, warning of “conditions [climatológicas] which are life-threatening ”. The hardworking delivery men pushing their bikes upstream did not appear to be the subject of the warnings.
Many city dwellers recorded the severity of the floods in unusual photos and videos posted on social media. In them, vehicles are seen floating through the avenues of New York, especially in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, people with water that reaches their knees, and authentic waterfalls falling from the roofs of several subway stations, while the trains continue to circulate below, although already without passengers, who had been evacuated. Other people noted how the water flooded basements of houses when pouring through the windows. Basements are the most affordable alternative to accommodation in a city where access to housing is prohibitive for broad sections of the population.
The floods affected a wide area from western Philadelphia to northern New Jersey. In the city of Passaic, in the latter state, at least two people died from the floods, said the mayor of the town, Héctor Lora. The NYPD later confirmed the deaths of seven other people, one of them a two-year-old boy, all in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Several of these victims died when they were trapped in basements flooded by torrential rains.
The mayor of Passaic explained that the remains of one of those who died in that town, a man in his 70s, have already been recovered after the car in which he was traveling was washed away. The firefighters’ vehicle trying to rescue the body was in turn swept away by the current, making it almost impossible for them to reach the body, although they finally managed to do so, CNN reported.
Tornadoes generated by the storm Ida They also swept parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, according to images posted on social networks. At least nine homes were destroyed in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia television network NBC10 reported. Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey reported through its Twitter account the resumption of “limited flight operations” around midnight after suspending its activity late Wednesday afternoon. In Philadelphia, the weather service issued a tornado warning.
The hurricane Ida, Later downgraded to a tropical storm, it had already caused the death of six people on the east coast of the country – not counting the nine victims on Wednesday -, left behind heavy rains and caused serious flooding. The storm is expected to continue this Thursday in the direction of New England. US President Joe Biden will travel to Louisiana on Friday, where Ida, which made landfall there on Sunday with winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour, destroying numerous buildings and leaving a million homes without power. Ida It has been one of the strongest hurricanes in recent years and the fifth most serious in the US since records are available.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.