Despite all the warnings about the foothills of Hurricane “Ida”, the heavy rains of the last few days surprised many people on the US east coast. More than 40 people have died in the severe flooding so far. The states of New Jersey and New York are hardest hit.
Authorities reported 23 deaths in New Jersey and at least 13 people died in New York City. The severe floods paralyzed air traffic in New York and meanwhile caused power outages in more than a million households.
As New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced, most of the 23 fatalities in New Jersey are people who were surprised in their vehicles by the water masses.
Eleven of the 13 fatalities in the city of New York died, according to police, in basement floods. The victims were therefore between 2 and 86 years old. Three fatalities have been reported from the New York suburb of Westchester.
A police officer died in the neighboring state of Connecticut. In the Montgomery district near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there were four fatalities, according to a local official.
The foothills of hurricane “Ida” hit the region around the US metropolis of New York hard on Thursday night. For the first time in the history of the megacity, the National Weather Service declared a “flash flood emergency”. The rescue workers were on duty all night and had to rescue hundreds of people.
Many streets turned into rivers within a very short time, subway stations were flooded, New York airports cut hundreds of flight connections. In Central Park, a record 80 millimeters of rain fell within an hour. Tornadoes have been reported from Annapolis, 50 kilometers from Washington, and the Cape Cod peninsula in the state of Massachusetts, which is popular with vacationers.
The sun shone in New York on Thursday, but the residents of the metropolis were still busy repairing the flood damage. The subway traffic slowly started rolling again.
According to the website poweroutage.us, after more than a million households were affected in the meantime, 38,000 households in Pennsylvania, 24,000 in New Jersey and 12,000 in New York were cut off from the power supply in the evening (local time).
A state of emergency has been declared for the states of New York and New Jersey. Governor Kathy Hochul said that the move should enable all those affected to get help as quickly as possible.
Biden promises help
“Ida” hit land as a second-highest level four hurricane in southern Louisiana over the weekend. The cyclone caused severe damage there, then weakened and moved on towards the northeast of the United States. US President Joe Biden wanted to visit the disaster area in Louisiana on Friday. In advance he agreed to help those affected: “We are in this together. The country is ready to help. “
According to scientists, the extent of the disaster is linked to climate change. “Global warming is coming upon us and it will get worse and worse and worse, unless we do something about it,” warned the Democratic US Senator Chuck Schumer.