At least nine deaths have been reported in New York City and New Jersey as rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida sent the Big Apple into a state of emergency and the storm carried into New England with threats of more tornadoes.
Police in New York City reported eight deaths, including a 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and a two-year-old boy who were found unconscious and unresponsive inside a home. They were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
One death was reported in New Jersey.
Multiple fatalities were also reported in Montgomery County outside Philadelphia, according to county spokesperson Kelly Cofrancisco.
Relentless rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida has sent the New York City area into a state of emergency as the storm carried into New England with threats of more tornadoes.
New York’s FDR Drive, a major artery on the east side of Manhattan, and the Bronx River Parkway were under water by late on Wednesday evening.
Underground stations and tracks became so flooded that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended all service. Videos posted online showed passengers standing on seats in carriages filled with water.
Other videos showed vehicles submerged up to their windows on major routes in and around the city and rubbish bobbing down the streets.
Firefighters rescued a man from a car stuck in deep floodwaters in New York City. Video shot by New York TV station WABC-TV showed crews carry a man from his vehicle to dry ground beside the Bronx River Parkway.
Among the deaths reported in New York City, a 48-year-old woman and a 66-year-old man died after being found at separate residences, and a 43-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man died after being found inside a home.
“We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said while declaring a state of emergency in New York City late on Wednesday.
Governor Kathy Hochul also declared a state of emergency for New York state.
The National Weather Service office in New York declared its first-ever set of flash flood emergencies in the region on Wednesday night. This 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”.
New York City put in place a travel ban until 5am on Thursday for all non-emergency vehicles.
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 August 21, believed at the time to be the most recorded in the park.
Earlier on Wednesday, the storm blew through the mid-Atlantic states with at least two tornadoes, heavy winds and drenching rain that collapsed the roof of a US Postal Service building in New Jersey and threatened to overrun a dam in Pennsylvania.
Social media posts showed homes reduced to rubble in a southern New Jersey county just outside Philadelphia, not far from where the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado on Wednesday evening.
The roof collapsed at the Postal Service building in Kearny with people inside, police Sergeant Chris Levchak said. Rescue crews attended into the night.
State governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties, urging people to stay away from flooded roads. Meteorologists warned that it is possible rivers will not peak for a few more days, raising the possibility of more widespread flooding.
At least one death was reported in the state. Passaic Mayor Hector Lora told news outlets that someone had died in the city after being submerged in their car.
Soaking rain prompted the evacuation of thousands of people after water reached dangerous levels at a dam near Johnstown, a Pennsylvania town nicknamed Flood City. An official said later on Wednesday that the water levels near the dam were receding.
Utilities reported hundreds of thousands of customers without power in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In Rockville, Maryland, water had almost reached the ceilings of basement units on Wednesday when crews arrived at an apartment complex. A 19-year-old was found dead, another person was missing and about 200 people from 60 apartments near Rock Creek were displaced, Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said.
A tornado was believed to have touched down along Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
“In many years I have not seen circumstances like this,” Goldstein said.
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