New York is struck on Thursday, hit overnight by torrential rains and sudden and historic flooding that left at least 44 people dead in the region, after the devastating passage of Storm Ida.
In the American economic and cultural megalopolis, the police counted at least 13 dead, including several people probably trapped and drowned in their basements, rudimentary housing, and sometimes unsanitary, arranged at the foot of the buildings of Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn. Firefighters have rescued hundreds of residents.
→ READ. Tornadoes and deadly floods in Ida’s wake in New York
Just north of Manhattan in upscale seaside Westchester County, which was still surrounded by muddy, brackish water Thursday night, one of its officials, George Latimer, told CNN that three people who had attempted to get out of their car were also likely to drown. A police officer assigned to guard traffic has died in neighboring Connecticut.
Streets turned into a torrent
But the worst record is for New Jersey, a state facing New York, with “At least 23 people who lost their lives”, Governor Phil Murphy said. Most of the victims were taken by surprise and trapped in their cars and probably drowned, the official said. Finally, near Philadelphia, four people died, according to local authorities.
Streets, avenues, expressways were suddenly turned into torrents, both in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens. In Westchester, dozens of vehicles were still submerged to the roofs on Thursday and basements of pretty traditional East Coast homes devastated by water sometimes rising to two feet.
In New York, the gigantic subway network partially restarted Thursday, after many stations flooded. The NWS, the US weather service, recorded an all-time high of 80mm of rain in one hour in Central Park.
” Emergency state “
In the middle of the night, the new governor of the state of New York, Kathy Hochul, had decreed ” emergency state “ following the floods “Major” in all the border counties of the city, potentially involving some 20 million inhabitants. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose city is barely recovering from the pandemic, lamented a “Historical meteorological event”.
THE’” emergency state “ for these floods is unprecedented for New York City, according to the US weather service. Dramatic tornadoes and floods also struck in Pennsylvania, New Jersey – also under a state of emergency – and in Maryland.
→ MAINTENANCE. Rising water levels and climate risk: “we must consider de-urbanizing! “
New Yorkers were cleaning their cellars on Thursday and several politicians pointed to climate change, two weeks after heavy rains from Storm Henri and nine years after Hurricane Sandy.
President Joe Biden will travel to Louisiana on Friday, the first state to suffer the ravages of Ida on Sunday, which destroyed numerous buildings and still deprives hundreds of thousands of homes of electricity. “We are all together. The nation is ready to help ”, simply said the tenant of the White House.