State of Emergency Declared in New York and New Jersey as Flooding from Ida Claims Multiple Lives

New York City declared a state of emergency early Thursday after extreme rain knocked out electricity, flooded streets, homes, and subways, prompting the city’s first-ever flash flood warning.

NBC News reports that at least 22 people have died, 14 in New Jersey and 8 in New York, including a 2-year-old boy and his parents who drowned in a basement apartment in Queens. As the tail end of Hurricane Ida battered the Tri-State area, videos showed water flowing onto the tracks at several subway stops. Other footage saw cars floating down flooded streets and torrents of water ripping through ground-floor apartments all over the city.

Mayor de Blasio declared a state of emergency for the city, stating, “we’re enduring a historic weather event tonight with record-breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding, and dangerous conditions on our roads.” Governor Kathy Hochul and Governor Phil Murphy also declared states of emergency for the state of New York and New Jersey, respectively.

According to PowerOutage.US, nearly 200,000 electrical consumers in the northeast were still without power early on Thursday, largely in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Rescue crews were hunting for additional stranded people on Thursday morning, expecting the death toll to rise.

New York’s FDR Drive and the Bronx River Parkway were both underwater late Wednesday due to the storm. All non-emergency cars were prohibited from entering New York City until 5 a.m. Thursday. A rare tornado warning was issued for the Bronx and sections of Westchester, and flights at LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark Liberty airports were canceled.

As recovery attempts began, dozens of cars that had been submerged up to their windows lay abandoned along the FDR. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended all service after subway rails and stations were swamped. Some lines were operating with limited service by Thursday morning.

NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins reported that Central Park and Newark, New Jersey, each received more than 3 inches of rain in an hour, the most ever recorded in a single hour. According to the National Weather Service, the daily rainfall total in Central Park was 7.13 inches on Wednesday, smashing the previous record of 3.84 inches established in 1927. Meanwhile, the city of Newark received 8.41 inches of rain, breaking the previous record of 2.22 inches set in 1959. The National Weather Service said that 6 to 10 inches of rain fell over several hours, inundating the streets of New York City.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell stated that there was “widespread damage that we’re seeing from Ida in the Northeast,” and that FEMA would start assessing the damage to determine the long-term recovery needs.


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