New York declared a state of emergency early Thursday morning as the Northeast region was slammed by torrential rain from the remnants of Ida, causing heavy flooding and reports of numerous water rescues.
In New York City, a travel ban was implemented until 5 a.m., according to an emergency alert sent by Notify NYC. All non-emergency vehicles must stay off the road, the alert said. Almost all the city subway lines were suspended due to the flooding. The Metropolitan Transit Authority website said that only the “7” line and the Staten Island Railway were operating with delays. “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 on Twitter.
“We will have a tough few hours coming up until we get the rain out of here,” de Blasio told CNN affiliate WCBS. “I have never seen this much rainfall this quickly. It is absolutely astounding … We are talking three inches, four inches in an hour. Unbelievable accumulation.” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told CNN the rain was “far more than anyone really expected,” and left the region in “a very dire situation.” “We can take all the precautions in advance, and we did deploy our assets to be on the ground in anticipation, but mother nature will do whatever she wants, and she is really angry tonight,” Hochul said.
The National Weather Service in New York urged people to stay off the roads. “We are seeing way too many reports of water rescues and stranded motorists. Do not drive through flooded roadways. You do not know how deep the water is and it is too dangerous,” the weather service said. Rescuers have been removing people from flooded roadways and subways across New York City, the New York Fire Department said Thursday morning. At least five flash flood emergencies were issued Wednesday evening by the National Weather Service, stretching from just west of Philadelphia through northern New Jersey. Dozens of water rescues were taking place and numerous roads have been closed. In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency, urging residents to “stay off the roads, stay home, and stay safe.”