Officials in the states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania said on Thursday that at least 40 people had died in flash floods caused by heavy rains caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
New York City officials said as many as 15 people died when they were trapped in basement apartments or in cars due to flooding.
The storm system that made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane poured heavy rain in the northeastern United States. On Wednesday, the National Weather Service issued the first flash flood emergency to New York City and neighboring Newark, New Jersey. At least 23 people died in New Jersey and at least 5 people died in Pennsylvania.
Many streets quickly became rivers, flooded with cars and even commuter buses. Most of the city’s subway system was closed due to flooding.
In an interview with reporters after visiting New York City, New York Governor Kathy Hochul pointed out that New York’s Central Park reached a record 8 centimeters of rainfall in one hour, breaking the record set a week ago.
“We didn’t know that between 8:50 and 9:50 last night, the sky would really open up and bring the water level of Niagara Falls to the streets of New York,” said Hochell, who became governor last week. Former governor Andrew Cuomo resigned.
She added that such catastrophic events are no longer unforeseen, and cities and states need to be prepared.
Biden pledged to provide federal assistance
In his speech at the White House, US President Joe Biden promised to provide emergency assistance to the governors of New Jersey and New York and other states in the region, and expressed condolences to the families of the victims.
He also stated that he will travel to Louisiana on Friday to meet with Governor John Bell Edwards to discuss the restoration of Date there. The President stated that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies will work around the clock until the needs of the region are fully met.
Biden pointed out that the area hit by Ada is an important center of the country’s oil production and refining infrastructure. He said the government is taking swift action to ensure that gasoline continues to flow throughout the country.
“We are all together,” Biden said at the White House on Thursday. “The country is here to help.”
The president also called the extreme storms and wildfires in the west a reminder that climate change has arrived, and he urged Congress to pass his infrastructure bill, which contains measures to solve the problem.
Part of the information in this report comes from the Associated Press and Reuters.