The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped flooding rain, spawned tornadoes across the Northeast and caused dozens of deaths in areas where the storm landed.
So far in the Northeast, at least 46 deaths have been attributed to the storm. Overall, there have been at least 59 deaths across eight states related to Ida.
President Joe Biden spoke on Ida’s damage in the Northeast Thursday afternoon, citing that New York recorded more rain Wednesday “than it usually sees the entire month of September.”
“People were trapped in the subways. But the heroic men and women of the New York Fire Department rescued all of them. They were trapped,” Biden said.
He said he’s made it clear to East Coast governors that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is “on the ground” and ready to provide assistance.
A flash flood emergency was declared for the first time in New York City as subway stations were turned into waterfalls and Midtown streets became rivers. The state of New York and New York City each declared states of emergency.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday morning the death toll in the Big Apple was nine. That number rose to 13 by the evening.
“We saw a horrifying storm last night. Unlike anything we’ve seen before,” de Blasio said. “Unfortunately the price paid by some New Yorkers was horrible and tragic.”
New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea said at least eight deaths took place in residential homes in basements.
Most of the city’s fatalities were in Queens.
Officers responding to a flooding condition at a partially collapsed building early Thursday in the borough found two people — a 43-year-old female and a 22-year-old male — unconscious and unresponsive inside, the NYPD said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene and the woman was taken to the local hospital, where she later died. “The investigation is ongoing and the Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. The identification of the deceased is pending family notification,” the NYPD said.
At a second flooded location in Queens, the NYPD said they found a 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and a 2-year-old boy unconscious and unresponsive within the residence. They were all pronounced dead at the scene.
Also in Queens, police responded to a 911 call of a flooding condition and discovered a 48-year-old female, unconscious and unresponsive, within the residence. “The aided female was removed by EMS to Forest Hills Hospital where she was pronounced deceased,” the NYPD said.
An 86-year-old woman also died in her Queens apartment due to flooding, police said.
On Thursday afternoon, the landlord at an apartment in Flushing called 911 to say there were three bodies submerged in a flooded basement, according to the FDNY.
After responding to a flooding incident in Brooklyn, the NYPD said officers found “a 66-year-old male, unresponsive and unconscious, within the residence.” He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Meanwhile, in Westchester, County Executive George Latimer said Thursday that one person died after they were caught in a flash flood in their car. Two additional deaths in the county were later confirmed.
More than 100 people were rescued in Rockland and Westchester counties, officials said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a Thursday morning briefing that her focus will be on flood prevention.
“Before we worried about coastal areas, now it’s about what’s happening in the streets, the drainage systems that need to be enhanced,” Hochul said. “Because of climate change, unfortunately, this is something we’re going to have to deal with with great regularity.”
The inundating rainfall Wednesday evening broke records. Central Park reported a record for rainfall in one hour with 3.15 inches from 8:51 p.m. to 9:51 p.m., the National Weather Service reported.
New York issued a citywide travel ban just before 1 a.m. ET Thursday until 5 a.m.
“All non-emergency vehicles must be off NYC streets and highways,” the city said.
Every subway line in the city was suspended, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, due to so many flooded stations. De Blasio told ABC station WABC that people were being evacuated from subway cars stuck underground.
During the flooding, 835 subway passengers were rescued, the NYPD said Thursday.
There were also 69 water rescues, including 18 at the U.S. Open in Queens, police said. The U.S. Open had to pause one tennis match as the court was flooded Wednesday night — despite there being a roof — due to rain coming in the side of the stadium.
Nearly 500 cars were abandoned, police said.
The governor declared a state of emergency Wednesday within 14 counties “in response to major flooding due to Tropical Depression Ida,” she said in a statement, while encouraging New Yorkers to “please pay attention to local weather reports, stay off the roads and avoid all unnecessary travel during this time.”
By Thursday morning, “Metro-North, LIRR and the New York City subway system are not fully functioning,” Hochul said.
Many New York communities are now grappling with water-logged apartments.
Ryan Bauer-Walsh, an artist who lives in Hamilton Heights, said his apartment on the fifth floor of one of New York City’s Housing Development Fund Corporation cooperatives was inundated with rain.
“This is the second time in two months that the roof has caved in and they’ve been doing asbestos removal. Unfortunately, asbestos-contaminated water, we think, has come into our apartments,”
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