Chaos in New York as flights cancelled, train lines down and traffic gridlocked due to floods

·3-min read

Hurricane Ida caused havoc in New York on Wednesday night, dumping record rainfall and causing floods, destruction and mass-disruption to transport.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency as torrential rainfall, that could fill some 50,000 Olympic swimming pools, poured into the state. At least 14 people have died due to rising water levels and extreme weather, which battered New York and New Jersey overnight.

Ida has ripped apart structures and left an estimated 200,000 homes without power across the states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Roads are flooded in various part of New York, where cars have been left stranded, and parts of the subway system in NYC were evacuated as water poured in.

On Thursday morning, authorities recommended that people avoid travelling where possible. “All non-emergency vehicles are advised to stay off of NYC streets and highways while clean-up continues,” posted NYC Emergency Management on Twitter.

A motorist drives a car through a flooded expressway in Brooklyn, New York early on 2 September (AFP via Getty Images)
A motorist drives a car through a flooded expressway in Brooklyn, New York early on 2 September (AFP via Getty Images)

“Most flood fatalities occur in vehicles, and it only takes 12 inches of water to sweep a car away. Sometimes the difference between life and death are small decisions,” advised the National Weather Service.

Parts of 16 subway lines were suspended as of Thursday morning. “Train service is extremely limited, if not even suspended, because of heavy rainfall and flooding across the region. We strongly recommend you avoid travelling at this time, if you can,“ wrote NYCT Subway on Twitter.

Conditions have also forced flight delays and cancelations at Newark Liberty, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia. Flood scenes at Newark Liberty International Airport were captured by passengers. One stated on Twitter: “Terminal B ground level at EWR added a swimming pool!”

Emergency staff have been working flat out since the storm began, to help people in need across New York and rescue those stranded on rooftops and in their cars, as rain broke a a 94-year-old record, according to the National Weather Service – in Central Park, rainfall reached seven inches, and up to 10 inches in other areas of the city.

Commuters walk into a flooded 3rd Avenue / 149th street subway station and disrupted service due to extremely heavy rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on 2 September (Getty Images)
Commuters walk into a flooded 3rd Avenue / 149th street subway station and disrupted service due to extremely heavy rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on 2 September (Getty Images)

Former firefighter, James Tedesco told The New York Times on Thursday morning, “We have not complete devastation but close to it. This is as bad as I’ve ever seen it,” he said of Bergen County, in New Jersey.

“We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” Bill de Blasio, the mayor of NYC, tweeted on Wednesday.

Flood warnings remained in place on Thursday morning for Boston, parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Cape Cod.

Hurricane Ida decimated parts of Louisiana after it made landfall on Sunday, with wind speeds reaching up to 150 mph.

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