Flash Floods in New York: State of emergency declared, at least 41 dead after hurricane Ida causes record-breaking rain

Flooding in New York: Record-breaking rain was reported in the US East Coast caused by remnants of Hurricane Ida, flooding low-lying apartments and subways and turning roads into rivers.

Sangeeta Nair
Sep 3, 2021, 12:33 IST
Record-breaking rain causes flooding in New York, New Jersey, Source: The Independent
Record-breaking rain causes flooding in New York, New Jersey, Source: The Independent

New York flooding updates: In an unexpected weather event, New York was hit by flash floods caused by remnants of Hurricane Ida, killing at least 41 people overnight on September 2, 2021. Record-breaking rain was reported in the US East Coast, flooding low-lying apartments and subways and turning roads into rivers.

The historic weather event shocked the citizens in the area who had never seen this much rain ever. New York Mayor declared a state of emergency and hundreds of flights were cancelled at LaGuardia, JFK airports and Newark airports. A terminal at Newark airport is reportedly flooded by rainwater. 

Ida destroyed buildings and left more than a million homes without power in the southern state of Louisiana. US President Joe Biden tweeted informing that he had held a call with Secretary Granholm and CEOs of utilities about ongoing efforts to restore electricity to Louisiana and Mississippi following Hurricane Ida. He said, "We’re committed to ensuring they have the resources they need to restore electricity in the wake of the hurricane."

— President Biden (@POTUS) September 1, 2021

Extreme Weather Event 

Record-breaking rain caused major flooding that led to the closing of major roads across New York and New Jersey, submerging cars and forcing the fire department to rescue hundreds of people.

According to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, at least 23 people died in the city, the majority of whom had got caught in their vehicles.

Hurricane Ida blazed a trail of destruction after slamming into Louisiana over the weekend, bringing severe flooding and record-breaking rain events. 

State emergencies were declared in both New York and New Jersey. The National Weather Service also issued its first-ever emergency flash flood warning for New York City, urging residents to move to higher ground.

The New York branch of the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a tweet, "You do not know how deep the water is and it is too dangerous." It added saying, "Areal and River Flood Warnings continue this morning for NE NJ, Bronx, Lower Hudson Valley and SW CT for numerous rivers and streams still in moderate to a major flood. Please exercise caution and stay home if possible."

Overall, around 38,000 homes in Pennsylvania, 24,000 in New Jersey and 12,000 in New York were without power on September 2, 2021. 

It is rare for such storms to strike the US East Coast and officials warn that this is a result of climate change. The surface layer of oceans are reportedly becoming warmer, causing cyclones to become more powerful and carry more water, posing an increasing threat to the world's coastal communities.

US President Joe Biden acknowledged the need to be better prepared for the climate crisis by tweeting, "The past few days of Hurricane Ida, wildfires in the West and unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey are another reminder that the climate crisis is here. We need to be better prepared. That’s why I’m urging Congress to act and pass my Build Back Better plan."

Hurricane Larry

Tropical Storm Henri had earlier struck US Northeast and cyclone Ida struck Louisiana as the fifth-strongest storm to ever hit the US mainland, causing devastating weather events like flash floods. 

However, the hurricane season is far from over as while storm Ida continues to wind down, a larger and stronger Hurricane Larry has formed over the Eastern Tropical Atlantic.

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