People out in the street during heavy rain and storm at Times Square in New York City, United States on September 1, 2021. Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday as a devastating Category 4 hurricane, bringing with it mass flooding and damage.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
At least eight people were killed as the remnants of Hurricane Ida battered New York and New Jersey with tornadoes, record rain and flooding that left both areas deluged and under states of emergency on Thursday.
Videos on social media showed cars submerged on highways and water pouring into subway stations and homes after a wind-driven downpour shattered rainfall records and prompted an unprecedented flash flood emergency for New York City.
Three men and three women and a 2-year-old boy died in four separate flooding incidents in the city, police said. In Passaic, New Jersey, firefighters recovered a body from a vehicle that went underwater when it was caught in floodwaters near the Passaic River, the town’s mayor said.
“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 City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.
In New York City, officials urged non-emergency vehicles to stay off the streets after a “travel ban” ended at 5 a.m. ET.
Central Park saw more than 3 inches of rain in one hour, the National Weather Service said. Between 6 and 10 inches of rain fell over several hours, it said, and city streets were inundated with water.
The weather and flooding brought New York transit to a near standstill, with service suspended or severely limited across the subway system.
A rare tornado warning was issued for the Bronx and parts of Westchester on Wednesday night, while flights at LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty airports were disrupted.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency, which allows for state aid.
New Jersey’s governor also declared a state of emergency due to the severe weather. “Stay off the roads, stay home, and stay safe,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Passaic Mayor Hector C. Lora declared a state of emergency, one of several area cities to do so. He livestreamed the scene as cars were submerged up to their headlights in a flooded section of the city of around 70,000. Some cars were struck in the middle of the street.
Passaic’s Deputy Chief of Police Louis Gentile said that all kinds of vehicles had gotten stuck, and warned residents not to be fooled by thinking they have a powerful car.
“We have fire trucks stuck, we have ambulances stuck, we have people that are still stuck and not getting out of the water,” he said. “It’s very serious.”
At least one tornado struck Mullica Hill, New Jersey, forecasters said. At least nine homes were destroyed, NBC Philadelphia reported. There were reports of damage across southeast Pennsylvania Pennsylvania and in New Jersey, National Weather Service Meteorologist Sarah Johnson said, but survey teams will have to confirm if they were more tornadoes.
New Jersey Transit said rail service was suspended.
Soaking rains from the remnants of Hurricane Ida prompted the evacuations of thousands of people Wednesday after water reached dangerous levels at a dam near Johnstown, a Pennsylvania town nicknamed Flood City.
Some areas near Johnstown, whose history includes several deadly floods, saw 5 inches or more of rain by mid-afternoon, an inundation that triggered an evacuation order for those downstream from the Wilmore dam.
Cambria County emergency management director and 911 center head Art Martynuska said the water level at the Wilmore dam reached a height that required evacuation.
Nearby Hinckston Run Dam was also being monitored but appeared stable by late afternoon, he said, by which time water levels at Wilmore dam were receding.
Gov. Tom Wolf said he was sending emergency responders to Bucks County, including National Guard high-water vehicles and an urban search-and-rescue team, in southeastern Pennsylvania following tornadoes and flooding.
Johnson, of the weather service office in Mount Holly, New Jersey, which also covers Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania, said there were reports of as much as 7 inches of rain Wednesday.
In Maryland, a 19-year-old man died after flooding that displaced 150 people from an apartment building Wednesday morning, police said. There was also a suspected tornado that caused damage in Annapolis.
The severe weather occurred as Post-Tropical Cyclone Ida, which hit Louisiana on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane, was causing heavy rainfall in the region.
The hurricane and its remnants knocked out power to hundreds of thousands in Louisiana and beyond and the storm is now considered a factor in more than a dozen deaths.