TORRENTIAL downpours and tornadoes have battered northeastern USA claiming the lives of at least 24 people, including a two-year-old boy and two of his relatives.
The powerful remnants of Hurricane Ida sparked chaos across the tri-state area on Wednesday night, leading to the first-ever Flash Flood Emergency being declared in New York City.
At least 24 people reportedly died during the storm, including nine in New York City, 14 in New Jersey, and one in Maryland.
Four women, three men, and a two-year-old boy died in five separate flooding incidents in the city, police said. The body of a ninth victim was discovered in the back of a submerged car earlier this morning.
In New Jersey, five residents of the same residential building were found dead in Elizabeth and at least one elderly man drowned in a car submerged by floodwaters.
Details regarding the other eight deaths in the Garden State were not immediately clear. At least two other people have been reported missing.
Emergency crews were seen rescuing dozens of stranded motorists throughout the night across the three states and people trapped in a basement were rescued by divers after a building collapsed in Queens.
Across New York and New Jersey, an estimated 85,000 people were without power early Thursday, including 25,000 in New York City.
Central Park and Newark each saw more than three inches of rainfall in just one hour yesterday, the most ever recorded at those locations in that timeframe.
'ONCE IN 500 YEAR EVENT'
Between six and 10 inches of rain fell over the space of several hours, the National Weather Service reported, and New York City streets were inundated with water, bringing transit to a near stand-still.
Climatologist Brian Brettschneider called the freak rainfall a once in a 500-year event.
Rare tornado warnings were also issued for the Bronx and parts of Westchester on Wednesday night.
During a press conference on Thursday, New York Gov. Katie Hochul confirmed that she had been in contact with President Joe Biden, who reportedly "guaranteed" to approve any emergency declaration she needs.
The flooding chaos in New York comes as…
- Shocking footage shows a tornado ripping through New Jersey bridge
- More than 1million homes have been left without power by Ida carnage
- Seven children left hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning amid Ida chaos
- More than 60 million people throughout Northeast hit by flash flood watches
The victims in New York, whose names were not released, were located in several different scenes throughout the city.
Their ages range from two to 70, with the death toll from Ida in New York and the tri-state area now higher than in Louisiana, which bore the brunt of the storm.
The two-year-old who died was trapped in a basement apartment in Woodside, Queens with relatives, a 48-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man, who also drowned.
A 66-year-old man was also discovered dead in the basement of his Cyprus Hills apartment just after midnight, as were a 22-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman in their home near 90th Avenue in Queens.
A woman in her 40s was found dead at about 1am in her apartment on Grand Central Parkway.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, five residents of an apartment complex in Elizabeth were reported dead by emergency personnel on Thursday morning.
Located at the Oakwood Plaza apartment complex on Irvington Avenue, officials are working to determine whether there may be more casualties inside the residential block.
Their cause of death has not been shared, however, a spokesperson for the mayor told NBC4 that a nearby fire station had been flooded with more than eight feet of water.
A man in his 70s also died in Passaic after the vehicle he was traveling became submerged in six feet of floodwater.
According to local officials, firefighters and rescue crews pulled a 26-year-old man and his 66-year-old mother from the submerged car but were unable to save the man, despite "heroic" efforts.
In Maryland, a 19-year-old man was killed when the banks Rock Creek River burst its banks and flooded nearby homes.
A state trooper was also hospitalized in Connecticut early Thursday morning after being swept away by floodwaters in Woodbury. Their condition is not currently known.
The rain in New York City has stopped but a flood warning was in effect until 10am EST.
Mayor Bill De Blasio and Governor Hochul of New York City declared a state of emergency for the metropolitan area on Wednesday night, as did officials in New Jersey.
"We’re enduring a historic weather event tonight with record-breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads," de Blasio tweeted.
Minutes later he urged: "Please stay off the streets tonight and let our first responders and emergency services get their work done."
The NWS office in New York declared also its first set of flash flood emergencies in the region yesterday.
The alert level is reserved for “exceedingly rare situations when a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is happening or will happen soon”.
All non-essential road travel was banned until 5am Thursday while subway services were crippled by the deluge of rainfall. Service has since resumed in a limited capacity.
Hundreds of flights at LaGuardia, JFK, and New Liberty airports were also canceled across Wednesday and early Thursday.
A video posted to Twitter showed water gushing onto a subway station platform. Another showed an L-train plowing through huge waterfalls crashing down from the ceiling as it pulled into the Jefferson Avenue stop.
A GrubHub courier also achieved viral stardom after they were filmed wading on a bike through waste-deep waters in the Big Apple to make a food delivery amidst the chaos – drawing praise from viewers online.
Other images in New Jersey showed a tornado ripping through a bridge and roofs being torn from buildings and homes.
One resident who saw a tornado tear through his neighbor's property said: "I heard the rumble and I seen stuff flying and I told my wife and kids to get in the basement.
"And I looked out the window and I seen their house going. First thing I did was run over to their house to make sure they were alright."
In New York City, recovery efforts commenced early Thursday to bring back the transportation systems used by millions of residents in the densely populated metropolitan area.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul urged commuters to stay home from work and pleaded for patience to "give us some time to have a complete restoration of the trains" after service was knocked out in much of the area, leaving many riders stranded overnight.
"This is one for the record books," Hochul told CNN.
In a later press conference, Hochul mourned the tragedy of the freak weather but insisting climate changes means "this is something we will have to deal with on a more frequent basis."
Hochul also told reporters that President Biden has offered the state of New York any and all emergency assistance it needs.
Senator Chuck Schumer also spoke at the press conference, as did Mayor de Blasio.
Schumer said the storm was yet another tragedy New Yorkers have had to endure in the last decade and pledged to "get the maximum amount of federal aid we need."
"Global warming is upon us," the Democrat warned. "What happened last night is not a coincidence … it's going to get worse and worse and worse unless we do something about it."
He then urged Congress to pass Biden's pending infrastructure and spending bills, which in part focus on tackling and preparing for climate change.
De Blasio, meanwhile, called the storm "horrifying" but a "reality we have to face."
"People are going through hell right now," he said, mourning the deaths of the nine New Yorkers. "They need help."
Subway service in New York City resumed but in an "extremely limited" capacity on Thursday morning, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) said.
Janno Lieber, the MTA's acting chair and CEO told local media it was going to take until later in the day to restore full service.
The Long Island Railroad, which is also run by the MTA, said early on Thursday that services on most of its branches have been restored, but commuters should expect systemwide delays of up to 30 minutes.
Across the rest of the country, Ida has already claimed eight lives and wreaked havoc across Pennsylvania, Maryland and Louisiana.
On Tuesday two power workers — Eli Nathaniel Babb and Layton River Ellison, both 19 — in Alabama were electrocuted while working to restore power, the DailyMail reported.
A 60-year-old man was the first to die on Monday after a tree fell on him, another died in New Orleans after trying to drive his vehicle through flooded streets.
And two people died tragically in Mississippi when a highway collapsed and another in Buchanan County, Virginia.
It also prompted dozens of matches to be postponed at the US Open.
"Play suspended between Diego Schwartzman and Kevin Anderson at Louis Armstrong Stadium–which has a roof–because of wind and rain," Sports Columnist Helene Elliott tweeted at 9.33pm.
"It's nasty out there. And in there, too, apparently. Stay safe!"
Source: Read Full Article