At least eight deaths were reported in New York City and New Jersey as relentless rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida sent the New York City area into a state of emergency early Thursday and the storm carried into New England with threats of more tornadoes.
Police in New York City reported seven deaths, including a 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and a 2-year-old boy who were found unconscious and unresponsive late Wednesday inside a home. They were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. One death was confirmed in New Jersey.
New York’s FDR Drive, a major artery on the east side of Manhattan, and the Bronx River Parkway were under water by late Wednesday evening. Subway stations and tracks became so flooded that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended all service. Videos posted online showed subway riders standing on seats in cars filled with water.
Other videos showed vehicles submerged up to their windows on major roadways in and around the city and garbage bobbing down the streets.
A person recorded video of water rushing through an apartment’s living room door in New York City as remnants of Ida triggered flash floods across the area.
“We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said while declaring a state of emergency in New York City late Wednesday.
Gov. Kathy Hochul also declared a state of emergency for New York state.
The National Weather Service office in New York declared its first-ever set of flash flood emergencies in the region Wednesday night, an alert level that is reserved for “exceedingly rare situations when a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is happening or will happen soon.”
Earlier Wednesday, the storm blew through the mid-Atlantic states with at least two tornadoes, heavy winds and drenching rains that ripped apart at least nine homes and collapsed the roof of a U.S. Postal Service building in New Jersey and threatened to overrun a dam in Pennsylvania.
Homes were split apart in Harrison Township, New Jersey, on Wednesday night after a tornado spun through a neighborhood. Firefighters are searching homes. NBC10’s Cydney Long is there.
At least one death was reported in New Jersey as floodwaters rushed through city streets, trapping motorists. Passaic Mayor Hector Lora said a 70-year-old man was swept away. “His family was rescued, they were all in the same car. Unfortunately, the car was overtaken by the waters, and the firefighters who were being dragged down under the vehicle were unable to get him out,” Lora told WCBS-TV.
A confirmed tornado ripped at least nine homes apart in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, along Josephine and Marvin lanes early Wednesday evening. No deaths were reported, though authorities did not have any immediate information on injuries.
One resident said he watched his neighbor’s home being torn apart while with his wife and children.
“I heard the rumble and I seen stuff flying and I told my wife and kids to get in the basement,” he said. “And I looked out the window and I seen their house going. First thing I did was run over to their house to make sure they were alright.”
Another resident said he felt the rumbling as the tornado passed through.
“We heard the alert come on the news,” he said. “We didn’t think anything was going to happen then all of a sudden you hear the rumbling. You look outside and it’s like everybody get your butts in the basement. It didn’t last that long. Maybe five minutes. But once it was over, it’s crazy. You could see the damage it did.”
The roof collapsed at the Postal Service building in Kearny, New Jersey, with people inside, police Sgt. Chris Levchak said. Rescue crews were on scene into the night, with no immediate word on the number of people or severity of injuries.
Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties, urging people to stay off the flooded roads. Meteorologists warned that rivers likely won’t crest for a few more days, raising the possibility of more widespread flooding.
Soaking rains prompted the evacuations of thousands of people after water reached dangerous levels at a dam near Johnstown, a Pennsylvania town nicknamed Flood City. An official said later Wednesday that the water levels near the dam were receding.
The storm had begun impacting New England early Thursday morning, which saw several tornado warnings appear across the region, though none were confirmed to have touched down. As of 2 a.m., there were about 18,000 power outages reported in Connecticut, as well as 2,500 in Rhode Island and 1,800 in Massachusetts, mostly along Cape Cod.
Historic flash flooding and torrential rains wreaked havoc on New York City Wednesday night as Ida’s remnants blasted through the region. We have team coverage of the latest.
The NWS recorded 3.15 inches of rain in New York’s Central Park in one hour Wednesday night, far surpassing the 1.94 inches that fell in one hour during Tropical Storm Henri on the night of Aug. 21, which was believed at the time to be the most ever recorded in the park.
At the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens, television footage showed fans who had watched matches under the Arthur Ashe Stadium’s retractable roof slogging through several inches of water as they left.
Few parts of the region were untouched, and residents huddled inside and endured the anxiety brought on by tornado warnings that gradually moved north and east with the storm.
Utilities reported hundreds of thousands of customers without power in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In Rockville, Maryland, water had almost reached the ceilings of basement units Wednesday when crews arrived at an apartment complex. A 19-year-old was found dead, another person was missing and about 200 people from 60 apartments near Rock Creek were displaced, Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said Wednesday.
A tornado was believed to have touched down along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
“In many years I have not seen circumstances like this,” Goldstein said.
The NWS had predicted flooding from what remained of Hurricane Ida, saying steep terrain and even city streets were particularly vulnerable to a band of severe weather that extended to Massachusetts, where tornado warnings were issued early Thursday.
The death toll from Ida’s devastating path through the U.S. has risen to at least 16 as of 4 a.m. Thursday, according to a count from NBC News.
Tropical Storm Henri hit the region a little more than a week ago, causing flooding and leaving the region saturated and more vulnerable to this week’s torrents.
Tropical Storm Larry was strengthening and moving quickly westward after forming off the coast of Africa earlier Wednesday. Forecasters predicted it would rapidly intensify in a manner similar to Ida, becoming a major hurricane with top wind speeds of 120 mph (193 kph) by Saturday.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said on Wednesday that there have been requests submitted to FEMA for commercial fuel in the region.
Scolforo reported from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. AP journalist Ryan Kryska in Hoboken, New Jersey, contributed to this report.
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