The governors of New York and New Jersey have declared a state of emergency as record-breaking rains from tropical storm Ida led to flooding and hazardous conditions on the roads, with media reporting at least six deaths.
“I am declaring a state of emergency to help New Yorkers affected by tonight’s storm,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Twitter late on Wednesday.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described the flooding and weather on Wednesday night as a “historic weather event”.
At least one person was killed in flash flooding that inundated the New Jersey city of Passaic, Mayor Hector Lora told CNN.
NBC New York reported that one more person had died in New Jersey and four had died in New York City on Wednesday night when they were trapped in their basements as the storm sent water surging through the city.
This is the what 183rd St looked like around 10pm. The force of water so strong, it caused the side of a home to cave in. Several feet of water gushed into the basement causing a 45 yr old woman and a 22 yr old man to die. Neighbors say they were mother and son #nbc4ny pic.twitter.com/zJ0rRt2AZC
— Pei-Sze Cheng (@PeiSzeCheng4NY) September 2, 2021
Mr Lora said the body of a man in his 70s was retrieved from flood waters.
The vehicle the man was riding in was swept away by the water, and firefighters were in turn swept under the vehicle making it nearly impossible for them to reach the man, CNN reported.
Nearly all New York City subway lines were suspended late on Wednesday as the remnants of Ida brought drenching rain and the threat of flash floods and tornadoes to parts of the northern mid-Atlantic, CNN reported earlier.
All non-emergency vehicles were banned from New York City’s streets until 5am on Thursday due to the weather, city authorities said on Twitter.
At least five flash-flood emergencies were issued on Wednesday evening by the National Weather Service, stretching from just west of Philadelphia through northern New Jersey.
#BREAKING: At least six people have been confirmed dead, two in Passaic, New Jersey, and four in New York City, after Ida remnants dumped a month's worth of rain and caused major flash floods across the region. https://t.co/FVwHnqIj8W
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) September 2, 2021
Earlier in the night, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency in response to Ida.
All New Jersey Transit rail services apart from the Atlantic City Rail Line were suspended due to the extreme weather, the service said on its website.
Storm damage from Ida astounded officials three days after the powerful hurricane pounded southern Louisiana, as reconnaissance flights revealed entire communities devastated by wind and floods.
Tornadoes spawned by the storm ripped through parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, images on social media showed. At least nine homes were destroyed in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia’s NBC10 television station reported.
New Jersey’s Newark Liberty Airport said on Twitter it was experiencing “severe flooding”. It said it resumed “limited flight operations” close to midnight after all flight activity was suspended late on Wednesday.
New York City’s mayor urged people to not go outside.
“Please stay off the streets tonight and let our first responders and emergency services get their work done. If you’re thinking of going outside, don’t. Stay off the subways. Stay off the roads. Don’t drive into these heavy waters. Stay inside”, he said on Twitter.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a plea for emergency fuel supplies to assist a million homes and businesses without power, and 600,000 people without water.
Countless homes were destroyed and towns flooded, evoking memories of Hurricane Katrina, which killed some 1800 and nearly destroyed New Orleans 16 years ago.