Flash flooding and tornadoes hit the north-eastern US leaving at least 25 people dead, local media reported on Thursday (Sep. 2). Eight of the victims were in New York City, and include a two-year-old boy. Some died when they became trapped in flooded basements.
The extreme weather has been caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida, which caused widespread devastation in southern Louisiana earlier this week.
Governors of New York and New Jersey declared a state of emergency. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City was “enduring a historic weather event” with “record breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads.” He warned New Yorkers: “Stay inside.”
At least 3in (8cm) of rain fell in just one hour in New York’s Central Park, breaking a 94-year-old record. Almost all New York City subway lines have been closed, and non-emergency vehicles banned from roads. Many flights and trains out of New York and New Jersey have been suspended.
Footage on social media showed cars submerged on highways and water pouring into subway stations and people’s homes.
"Oh my God! This is terrible.": Footage shows multiple drivers stranded and screaming for help in their vehicles in Yonkers, New York on Wednesday after getting caught in flash floods that pummeled parts of New Jersey and New York. pic.twitter.com/lKAR6ZUJX2
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 2, 2021
The US National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency in New York City for the first time and issued tornado warnings for parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
A flood emergency, as opposed to a warning, is issued in “exceedingly rare situations when a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is happening or will happen soon”, the NWS said.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters that officials were still assessing the damage and “uncovering the true depth of the loss.”
“I don’t want this to happen again,” she said during a news conference Thursday. “We haven’t experienced this before, but we should expect it the next time.”
US President Biden addressed the nation later on Thursday, where he delivered remarks on the White House’s response to the damage caused by Hurricane Ida, the fifth largest in US history.
In his address, he said that a million people are still without power in the southern US, Unconfirmed reports suggest winds reached 170 mph and 6,000 National Guard troops have been mobilised to help with rescue and relief efforts.
As with many past hurricanes in the US, it will probably only be after the emergency services have done their work that the true devastation will be known.
East coast death toll from Ida rose to 48. Overall, there have been at least 61 deaths across eight U.S. states related to the storm, as basement apartments suddenly filled with water, rivers and creeks swelled to record levels and roadways turned into car-swallowing canals.
With reporting by CBS News, BBC, ABC News