Home News Biden Approves NY, NJ Emergency Declaration as Cleanup Continues – NBC Los Angeles
News - September 2, 2021

Biden Approves NY, NJ Emergency Declaration as Cleanup Continues – NBC Los Angeles

What to Know

  • The remnants of Hurricane Ida turned major highways into streams, flooded subways and streets and triggered states of emergency in New York and New Jersey; at least 39 people have died locally
  • Thirteen of the deaths were in NYC, including a 2-year-old boy, while 23 were confirmed in New Jersey; it was the wettest day in history for Newark and Central Park saw its rainiest hour ever
  • Much of NYC subway and NJ Transit train service remains suspended or significantly delayed heading into Thursday night

President Joe Biden has approved emergency declarations in the state of New York and New Jersey, paving the way for the states to receive much-needed federal assistance after tens of thousands in the region were devastated by the remnants of deadly Hurricane Ida.

Biden on Thursday pledged robust federal help for the Northeastern and Gulf states battered by Hurricane Ida and for Western states beset by wildfires — with the catastrophes serving as deadly reminders that the “climate crisis” has arrived.

“The past few days of Hurricane Ida and the wildfires in the West and the unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey is yet another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here,” he said. “We need to be much better prepared. We need to act.”

President Joe Biden is promising help for victims of Ida’s remnants in our area. Jonathan Dienst reports.

Biden said he will further press Congress to pass his nearly $1 trillion infrastructure bill to improve roads, bridges, the electric grid and sewer systems. The proposal intends to ensure that the vital networks connecting cities and states and the country as a whole can withstand the flooding, whirlwinds and damage caused by increasingly dangerous weather.

Ida was the fifth-most powerful storm to strike the U.S. when it hit Louisiana on Sunday with maximum winds of 150 mph, likely causing tens of billions of dollars in flood, wind and other damage, including to the electrical grid. The storm’s remnants dropped devastating rainfall across parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey on Wednesday, causing significant disruption to major population centers.

The storm has killed at least 13 in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and the death toll has been higher in the Northeast where existing infrastructure failed to keep people safe. At least 39 people died, including a 2-year-old boy, in New York and New Jersey.

The latest death was reported early Friday morning in the city of Mount Vernon. A city spokesperson said Alan Dorsainvil, 33, of the Bronx was found in his vehicle Thursday. Investigators say it appeared that Dorsainvil drove into deep water on South Columbus Avenue and he became trapped as his vehicle filled with floodwater.

Even though historic rainfall, tornadoes and savage winds have left the region, the grim death toll could continue to climb further Friday as emergency crews navigate flooded homes and cars.

By Thursday night, only the city’s W and E subway lines were still shut down, though partial suspensions were reported on almost a dozen lines and nearly that many had delays. NBC New York’s Jessica Cunnington reports.

Thirteen of the confirmed fatalities were in Brooklyn and Queens and included a 2-year-old boy, 43-, 86- and 48-year-old women and 50-, 66- and 22-year-old men. Another three deaths were confirmed Thursday afternoon in Flushing, the same neighborhood where the toddler and his parents were found dead, officials said.

Two women and a man were discovered dead in the basement of a two-family house, officials said. Their deaths are believed to be storm-related — and the NYPD says so far all the home deaths appear to have involved basement apartments — but will be further investigated. Details on the 12th and 13th New York City victims weren’t immediately clear.

“Our hearts ache for the lives lost in last night’s storm. Please keep them and their loved ones in your thoughts today,” the mayor said Thursday. “They were our fellow New Yorkers and to their families, your city will be there for you in the days ahead.”

Team coverage of Hurricane Ida’s remnants in our area.

A couple from Westchester County went missing amid Ida’s fury, according to Harrison officials. The couple’s vehicle was found Thursday afternoon pinned against a utility pole in Purchase; a body located a quarter mile from the car. A 69-year-old man was found elsewhere in the same county not far from his submerged car near Route 119.

The other 23 confirmed deaths were in New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy said “the majority of these deaths were individuals who got caught in their vehicles by flooding and were taken by the water.” Murphy went on to urge residents to not attempt to drive through flood waters, and that flooding dangers still persist.

Additionally, there where at least four bodies were found in Elizabeth’s Oakwood Plaza Apartments complex, a spokeswoman for the city said. Those included three family members — a 72-year-old woman, her 71-year-old husband and their 38-year-old son — and a 33-year-old neighbor.

A mayoral spokeswoman believed all four were found on the first floor and noted fire department headquarters nearby were under 8 feet of water. Search and rescue teams were continuing efforts to assess any other additional potential casualties.

Another New Jersey death was confirmed in Passaic County, while at least two others have been reported missing. The locations of the other New Jersey deaths weren’t immediately clear. Most if not all the deaths were flood-related.

Only the names of eight New York City victims have been released so far. Here’s what we know about Ida’s victims so far.

One of the deaths was confirmed in Passaic, New Jersey, and seven in New York City, including a 2-year-old boy. NBC New York’s Pei-Sze Cheng and Myles Miller report.

Over in Connecticut, a state trooper died after his cruiser was swept away in floodwaters in Woodbury early Thursday morning.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have all declared states of emergency to expedite federal assistance as the three states, the first two in particular, face catastrophic flood and wind damage from New Haven to the city’s five boroughs to the Garden State’s Gloucester County. New York and Connecticut recently received another White House approval for emergency declaration on Aug. 22, when Hurricane Henri unleashed several inches of rain during its relentless 36-hour siege last month.

While Henri left some homes across the tri-state without power, the outages were far greater with Ida. More than 200,000 were in the dark across the tri-state area early Thursday, with New Jersey bearing the brunt of the outages. Though those outages had dropped greatly by Friday, according to poweroutage.us.

Ida dumped well more than a month’s worth of rain on Central Park in a matter of hours, its wrath forcing a near-total shutdown of travel at the height of the disaster. New York City issued an all-out travel ban at the height of the storm as subway stations became submerged and much of mass transit services are still recovering from the storm.

Hurricane Ida’s remnants packed a powerful punch in New Jersey – putting several neighborhods under more than two feet of water. Pat Battle reports.

Skies have cleared but many New York and New Jersey counties remained under a flood warning as meteorologists warned rivers likely won’t crest for a few more days.

Ida marks the latest devastation for NYC and neighboring New Jersey still struggling to emerge from a COVID-19 pandemic that claimed tens of thousands of lives.

New York state and city officials called the scale of this disaster unforeseen as many others similarly wondered how Ida could cause such devastation 1,000 miles and days later from where it made landfall.

“We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m. last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level of water to the streets of New York,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a briefing in Queens Thursday. “Could that have been anticipated? I want to find out.”

NY City Councilmember I. Daneek Miller was holding a news conference when his mom called – and NY Gov. Kathy Hochul stepped in to answer the phone so he could keep talking.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also said weather projections failed to predict such a cataclysmic downpour, saying at that same briefing, “We’re getting from the very best experts projections that then are made a mockery of in a matter of minutes.”

He said the forecast Wednesday morning was 3 to 6 inches of rain over the course of the day. He said that was not a “particularly problematic” amount. Instead, New York City got the “biggest single hour of rainfall” in its history.

“Hundreds” of rescues were said to have been conducted in New York City, particularly in Brooklyn and Queens, at the height of the storm, while Hochul said about 100 were conducted in Rockland and Westchester counties alone. NYPD officials confirmed roughly 500 abandoned cars had been towed by mid-day Thursday.

The Garden State’s largest city of Newark recorded its wettest day in history Wednesday. Nearly five dozen water rescues had been conducted there before dawn and more than 370 flights were canceled out of the airport hub Thursday after extensive flooding the night before.

“Please stay off the roads. Many roads remain flooded this morning,” Murphy cautioned Thursday. “It is not safe to drive. Our crews are working to clear and open roads, and we need everyone to stay off them so crews can safely do their job.”

Meanwhile, Storm Team 4 is tracking Tropical Storm Larry, which strengthened into a hurricane early Thursday and is expected to further intensify. Forecasters predict it will do so rapidly and in a manner similar to Ida, becoming a major hurricane with top wind speeds of 120 mph by Saturday. At this point, it’s too early to predict the potential U.S. impacts from Larry so stay with Storm Team 4 for details.

Track any approaching storms using our interactive radar below.

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