The remnants of Hurricane Ida turned deadly, spurred water rescues, swamped roadways and set rainfall records as the system swept up the East Coast late Wednesday into the overnight hours Thursday.
The deluge was blamed for at least 19 deaths, including that of a 70-year-old man who Passaic, New Jersey, Mayor Hector Lora said was swept away by floodwaters. Divers were searching for other possible victims. Lora ordered the evacuation of downtown Passaic early Thursday due to the rising level of the Passaic River.
In New York City, officials said the storm was responsible for at least 12 deaths, including three people found in a flooded basement in Queens, according to the city’s fire department. In Pennsylvania, a death was reported in Upper Dublin Township.
New York’s Central Park got 3.15 inches of rain between 8:51 p.m. and 9:51 p.m., breaking a mark set in the early 1900s for the most ever for an hour in the city, according to CBS News weather producer David Parkinson.
The torrential downpours prompted the National Weather Service’s New York office to issue it first-ever Flash Flood Emergency for parts of the city — Manhattan, Brooklyn and the borough of Queens. That followed the first such emergency the office ever declared, for New Jersey. The weather service also issued one for parts of Connecticut as the front end of the system moved into New England, pointing to 6 to 10 inches of rainfall “falling over a several hour period.”
States of emergency were declared by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered a ground-stop at the New York metropolitan area’s three major airports. The New York City subway system and New Jersey Transit shut most of their service, and Long Island Railroad service was suspended.
There were reports of tornadoes in Maryland and New Jersey, and tornado warnings and watches for various areas.
Several thousand power outages were reported in New York and New Jersey.
New York City police tweeted, “Officers throughout have been responding to 911 calls of people affected by the storm.”