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At least nine killed as Storm Ida dumps a month’s worth of rain on New York City

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At least nine people have been killed after Storm Ida dumped a month’s worth of rain on parts of the US.

States of emergency were declared in New York and New Jersey as the remnants of a hurricane sparked flash floods that forced New York City to suspend its subway services.

Last night, the city suffered its wettest hour on record, with more than 80mm of rain falling in Central Park in the space of 60 minutes.

That eclipsed the previous record of 49mm that was set in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Henri just last month.

The dead also include a 48-year-old woman and a 66-year-old man found at separate residences, and a 43-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man discovered inside a home.

The city’s fire department said it responded to a report of flooding in Queens shortly after 11pm and one person taken from the building was pronounced dead.

Another victim in Passaic, New Jersey, was found dead in a vehicle that went underwater when it was caught in flooding near the Passaic River, according to the town’s mayor.

The National Weather Service said Wednesday was the first time it had issued a “flash flood emergency” for New York City.

New York City suffered its wettest hour on record last night

New York City suffered its wettest hour on record last night 

The term is used for exceedingly rare situations in which flash flooding is posing a severe threat to human life and causing catastrophic damage – or will do so soon.“We’re enduring a historic weather event tonight with record-breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said late on Wednesday.

He urged people to stay off the streets, saying: “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.”

A travel ban that barred non-emergency vehicles from streets and highways was in place until 5am local time this morning (10am UK time).

New York City Subway tweeted that anyone trapped between stations should stay put as videos posted online showed passengers standing on seats and trains filled with water.

The city’s LaGuardia and JFK airports reported flight disruptions, while New Jersey’s Newark airport limited its operations after initially suspending all flights.

A vehicle moves along a flooded road in Williamsburg, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City
A flooded road in Williamsburg, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

At least one tornado hit New Jersey, with posts on social media showing houses reduced to rubble by strong winds.

The extreme weather seemingly failed to deter some people from ordering food deliveries as video appeared to show a worker wading through knee-high waters on a bicycle.

Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged New Yorkers to “raid your cabinets” rather than put delivery drivers at risk.

When Ida made landfall in Louisiana as a hurricane at the weekend, it left the city of New Orleans without electricity and caused huge amounts of damage.

The latest wave of devastation caused by the storm comes as the UN warned that weather disasters are striking the world four to five times more often and causing seven times more damage than in the 1970s.

 

 

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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