Hurricane Ida Thursday hit the entire Northeast region in the United States, killing dozens of people and flooding streets, causing severe damage to the local transport services.
With all areas combined, a total of 46 deaths have been reported, eight of them in New York, Brooklyn and Queens. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency, while Governor Kathy Hochul did the same for the state.
Ida arrived in Louisiana Sunday with record winds of 150 miles per hour, leaving more than 1 million customers across the South, including New Orleans, without power and killing at least five people in Louisiana and Mississippi.
De Blasio said bridges and tunnels remained open, but there were flooded roads throughout the city, with only the tops of some cars visible. New York's subway system experienced severe service limitations as water flooded down to Manhattan's underground platforms.
In addition to that, 392 flights were cancelled at Newark Liberty International Airport as of 11:30 p.m. The airport received 163 millimetres of rain in the three hours ending at 9:51 p.m., nearly the equivalent of seven weeks of average rain that fell in just a few hours, said National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Lamers.
This is the second time in two months that torrential rains have flooded parts of the New York City subway after Tropical Storm Elsa struck the city in early July.
At least 23 people have died in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said. At least five in Pennsylvania and one each in Connecticut and Maryland, officials said.
The storm system originally came ashore Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane in Louisiana. What was left of Ida headed for the Northeast, where it combined with a storm front and dumped so much rain Wednesday that the National Weather Service issued its first flash flood emergency for New York City and the neighbouring city of Newark, New Jersey.
We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m. last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level of water to the streets of New York, said Hochul, who became governor last week after former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned.
President Joseph Biden pledged emergency assistance to governours of both New Jersey and New York as well as other states in the region and sent his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. He also said he would be travelling to Louisiana Friday to meet with Governor John Bel Edwards to discuss the recovery efforts from Ida there. The president said the nation’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies will be working around the clock until the needs of the region are fully met.
Biden noted the region hit by Ida is a key centre of the nation’s oil production and refining infrastructure. He said the government was moving quickly to make sure gasoline continues flowing throughout the country. “We’re all in this together,” Biden said Thursday at the White House. “The nation is here to help.”