Sept 3, 2021: Extreme levels of flash flooding killed at least 44 people in four northeastern states as the remnants of Hurricane Ida continued with torrential rains that washed away cars, sank New York City subway lines and grounded airline flights.
In large parts of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, residents have been calling for help from friends and family trapped in flooded basements, power outages, roof collapses and flooding throughout the day.
At least 13 people lost their lives in New York City, along with three in the suburbs of Westchester County because of the Hurricane Ida. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a tweet that at least 23 people from the state were killed in the storm.
In one reported incident, three people were found dead in a basement in the New York City Borough of Queens, while four New Jersey, Elizabeth residents died in 8 feet of flood water trapped in a public housing complex.
US President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency in the states of New Jersey and New York and ordered federal aid to step up local response efforts due to the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Roadways turned into rivers in minutes as Wednesday night’s rain trapped drivers in rapidly rising floodwaters. Several vehicles were found unattended and abandoned on area roadways on Thursday. At least four motorists were killed in Somerset County, New Jersey, officials said.
A man was swept away in Maplewood Township, New Jersey, as he tried to remove debris from storm drains in the area, police said.
“Sadly, more than just a few people have died as a result,” Murphy said at a briefing at Mullica Hill in the southern part of the state, where a tornado destroyed several homes.
The National Weather Service confirmed that tornadoes that hit two trees also hit Maryland on Wednesday, one in Annapolis and the other in Baltimore.
A 19-year-old man has died after trying to save his mother from a flooded apartment in Rockville, Maryland, according to the Washington Post. The damage came three days after one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to land on the U.S. Gulf Coast landed in Louisiana on Sunday, destroying multiple communities.
But casualties in the Northeast is a lot greater than the storm related deaths reported in Louisiana which stands at 9.
The storm killed four people in the suburbs of Philadelphia, according to county spokeswoman Kelly Cofransico. A Connecticut soldier died Thursday morning after his cruiser was swept away in floodwaters in the town of Woodbury, state police said.
Video footage on the Weather Channel showed flames billowing from a house in the riverfront town of Manville, New Jersey, where flooding prevented access by fire trucks. The house next door appeared to have burned down to the waterline on a street where parked cars were submerged.
According to a report by the World Meterorological Organization, the number of disasters, such as floods and heatwaves, driven by climate change has increased fivefold over the past 50 years.
The governors of New York and New Jersey urged residents to stay home as crews worked to clear roadways and restore service to subways and commuter rail lines serving millions of residents.
Subway services in New York City remained “extremely limited,” transit officials said, and commuter rail services to the suburbs were largely suspended. About 370 flights were canceled at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty Airport.
According to PowerOutage.us, which collects data from utility companies, about 170,000 electricity users lost power on Thursday in four northeastern states, most of which received overnight rain, mostly Pennsylvania and in New Jersey.
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