Officials in the states of New York and New Jersey said on Thursday that, driven by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, the northeastern part of the United States was hit by historic rainstorms, triggering flash floods and killing at least 18 people.
New York City officials said as many as 14 people were trapped in the basement apartment by the flood and died. Others were trapped in their cars.
On Sunday, the storm system that initially landed as a Category 4 hurricane in Louisiana poured heavy rain in New York City. The National Weather Service issued the first flash flood emergency for this iconic metropolis and neighboring Newark, New Jersey.
Many streets quickly became rivers, and cars and even commuter buses were flooded. Due to flooding, most of the city’s subway system was forced to shut down.
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. She said this tells her that such catastrophic events are no longer “unforeseeable” and that cities and states need to be prepared.
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 (FEMA) 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 come, and he urged Congress to pass his infrastructure bill, which contains measures to solve the problem.