NEW YORK (AP) — The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, with at least nine deaths linked to flooding in the region as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Water poured into subways tunnels as catastrophic flooding, which scientists have warned likely will be more common with man-made global warming, came to America’s largest city.
At least nine deaths were reported in New York City and New Jersey. A New York City police spokesperson says a total of eight people died when they became trapped in flooded basements.
The rain ended by daybreak Thursday as rescuers searched for more stranded people and braced for potentially finding more bodies.
“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 Wednesday.
Subway stations and tracks became so flooded that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) suspended all service. Videos posted online showed subway riders standing on seats in cars filled with water.
Janno Lieber, the CEO of the MTA, said at least 17 trains were stranded between stations overnight. All of the riders were evacuated safely, he told TV station NY1 on Thursday.
The toll Ida has taken in the U.S. also included at least two tornadoes in the mid-Atlantic, where homes were now rubble in Mullica Hill, N.J., just outside of Philadelphia. Police in Connecticut are investigating a report of a person missing due to the flooding in Woodbury.
At least one death was reported in New Jersey as Passaic mayor Hector Lora said a 70-year-old man was swept away.
In New York, the rain brought transportation in large parts of the bustling city to a halt. Officials banned travel for all but emergency vehicles until early Thursday. FDR Drive in Manhattan, and the Bronx River Parkway were under water. Garbage bobbed in the water rushing down streets. Some subway and rail service had resumed Thursday morning.
The National Weather Service office in New York issued its first-ever set of flash flood emergencies in the region Wednesday night, alerts only sent in the most dangerous conditions.
Rescues took place all over New York City as its 8.8 million people saw much worse flooding than from Henri.
The National Weather Service recorded 3.15 inches (8.91 centimeters) of rain in New York’s Central Park in one hour Wednesday night, far surpassing the 1.94 inches (4.92 centimeters) that fell in one hour during Henri on the night of Aug. 21, which was believed at the time to be the most ever recorded in the park.
In neighboring New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in all 21 counties, urging people to stay off the flooded roads. Meteorologists warned that rivers likely won’t crest for a few more days, raising the possibility of more widespread flooding.
“There’s a lot of hurt in New Jersey,” Murphy told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday as he discussed damage caused by flooding in the northern part of the state and tornadoes in the southern part of the state.
Newark Liberty Airport shut down Wednesday night due to the weather but was allowing limited flights Thursday morning.
At least 220,000 customers were without power in the region, with most of the outages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. More than 35,000 customers were without power Thursday morning in New York City, Long Island and its northern suburbs.
Southern New England awoke Thursday to inundated roads, commuter delays and an ongoing flash flood warning. A section of Route 24 in southeastern Massachusetts was shut down because of water on the highway, and in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, a road crumbled under the onslaught of rain.
Scolforo reported from Harrisburg, Pa. AP journalist Ryan Kryska in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.
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