From New York state to Maryland, torrential rain and flooding in part of the northeastern United States killed at least 26 people Wednesday night through Thursday morning.
The area may have been warned of the dangers of deadly flash floods, but it was not prepared for such severe weather. Apartments on the lower floors have been found submerged in water and many of the car-strewn roads have been turned into canals.
Police said at least 12 people have died in New York City alone. Eight of them perished in the basement apartments, where the less wealthy usually resided. Another person died in his car.
Local authorities also said at least eight people have died in New Jersey. In Passaic, the body of a seventy man was found in his car that had been swept away by flash floods.
His family was rescued, and they were all in the same car. Unfortunately, the car was swept away by water, and the firefighters who ran under the car were unable to get it out.Passaic Mayor, Hector Laura said.
Three people were killed in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, one died in a tree fall, another drowned in a car, and another died in a house.
State police and local authorities said that in Connecticut, an on-duty police officer was driven in his car, then taken to the hospital.
Massive flooding forced New York State Governor Temporary Kathy Hochhol and Mayor Bill de Blasio to declare a state of emergency, the first due to flash floods.
Tonight we see a historic meteorological event with record rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads.
The US Weather Service (NWS) recorded 89.1 millimeters of rain in Central Park, New York in one hour Wednesday night, far exceeding the 49 millimeters of rain that fell in one hour during Tropical Storm Henry on August 21. At the time, it was the largest rainfall ever in Central Park.
The torrential rains began falling at around 9 pm on Wednesday and caused floods affecting nearly 20 million people.
The streets of Brooklyn and Queens were flooded, and only emergency vehicles were allowed into New York City Thursday morning.
All New York subway lines were also suspended on Wednesday night. The stations and tracks were flooded, and the footage shows people standing on car seats filled with water.
For its part, Newark, LaGuardia and JFK airports have canceled hundreds of flights.
Videos posted on social media show cars smashed in windows on major highways in New York and in neighboring counties. Streets on both sides of Manhattan and the Bronx were also flooded.
Firefighters rescue a man from a car stuck in flood waters in New York City. The video clip shows firefighters transferring a man from his vehicle to dry land. The man’s car was one of several that got stuck in the water on the Bronx River Parkway.
Floods and hurricanes
Earlier Wednesday, the storm that swept the east coast of the United States caused at least two hurricanes, until strong winds collapsed the roof of the building that houses the US Postal Service in New Jersey and threatened to erode the Pennsylvania Dam.
Authorities also reported that hundreds of thousands of customers are without power in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The NWS projected flooding after the remnants of Hurricane Ida passed, indicating that the steep terrain and streets in many towns were particularly vulnerable.
High winds and stormy weather extended as far as Massachusetts, where tornado warnings were issued early Thursday.
This is the second storm in a short time. Tropical Storm Henry had already hit the area just over a week ago.
Henry caused flooding, and the area was saturated with rain, making it more prone to flooding this week.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lari was strengthening and moving rapidly westward after it formed off the coast of Africa earlier on Wednesday.
It can intensify and turn into a large hurricane, like Ida, with winds that can reach 193 km/h.
With information from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters
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