The governors of New York and New Jersey declared a state of emergency late Wednesday as record-breaking rain from Tropical Storm Ida caused flooding and dangerous conditions on roads, with the media reporting at least nine deaths.
“I am declaring a state of emergency to help New Yorkers affected by tonight’s hurricane,” New York Governor Cathy Hochul said on Twitter.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described Wednesday night’s flooding and weather as a “historic weather phenomenon.” The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency in New York City for the first time.
Mayor Hector Lora told CNN that at least one person was killed in the flooding in the New Jersey city of Passic.
NBC New York reported that another person had died in New Jersey and seven people had died in New York City, including a 2-year-old child. Local media reported that people were trapped in their basements as the storm flooded the city.
Lora said the body of a man was pulled from the flood waters in the seventies. CNN reported that the vehicle he was in was washed away in the water and firefighters were swept under the vehicle, leaving them unable to reach it.
CNN previously reported that nearly all of New York City’s subway lines were suspended late Wednesday due to the remnant torrential rains of Ida and the threat of flash floods and tornadoes in parts of the north central Atlantic.
City officials said on Twitter that all non-emergency vehicles were banned from New York City streets as of 5 a.m. (0900 GMT) Thursday.
At least five flash flood emergencies were issued Wednesday evening by the National Weather Service, extending from west of Philadelphia to northern New Jersey.
Earlier in the night, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency. He wrote on Twitter that 81,740 power outages were reported late Wednesday night.
A tornado swept through New Jersey’s Gloucester County, damaging several homes, according to CNN affiliate WPVI.
The service said on its website that all New Jersey Transit rail services other than the Atlantic City rail line were suspended due to extreme weather.
Hurricane damage from Ida stunned officials on Wednesday, three days after powerful storms hit southern Louisiana, and reconnaissance flights ravaged entire communities with wind and flooding.
Images on social media showed tornadoes produced by the storm lashed parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey said on Twitter it was experiencing “severe flooding”. It said it resumed “limited flight operations” near midnight after suspending all flight activities late Wednesday.
Social media images show water running down New York City’s subway platforms and trains. The Metropolitan Transit Authority said subway service was “extremely limited” due to the flooding.
Janno Lieber, executive chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said in a statement that first responders evacuated people from the metro system.
De Blasio urged people to stay home.
“Please stay off the streets tonight and let our first responders and emergency services do their jobs. If you are thinking of going out, don’t do it. Stay away from metro. Stay off the roads. Do not drive in these heavy waters. Stay inside”, he wrote on Twitter.