Wednesday, September 22, 2021

    At least 25 people killed overnight in New York City, New Jersey, during historic flooding

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    Naija247news Editorial Team
    Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

    At least 25 people were killed across New York and New Jersey — including a 2-year-old boy and his parents who drowned in a basement apartment in Queens — as the tail-end of Hurricane Ida ravaged the northeast.

    The storm knocked out power and flooded streets, homes and subways — prompting the first-ever flash flood emergency for the Big Apple and leaving a trail of devastation across the northeast.

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    Eleven people died in the city after becoming trapped in flooded basement apartments and one person was found dead in the back of their car on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens.

    One person was killed after getting caught in flash floods in Westchester and 12 people died in the Garden State, including four found in the same apartment complex.

    The rising death toll came as a state of emergency was in effect Thursday after the historic downpour knocked out power and flooded streets, homes and subways — prompting the first-ever flash flood warning for the Big Apple.

    The National Weather Service had also issued a tornado warning for parts of the Bronx late Wednesday.

    FDNY firefighters rescue a woman from her car that stalled due to flash flooding after remnants of Hurricane Ida brought historic rain and NYC’s first-ever flash flood warning.
    FDNY firefighters rescue a woman from her car that stalled due to flash flooding after remnants of Hurricane Ida brought historic rain and NYC’s first-ever flash flood warning.
    Anthony Behar/Sipa USA
    As recovery efforts got underway, rescuers were searching for more stranded people Thursday morning and were bracing for a potentially higher death toll.

    “Our hearts go out to the victims,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a press briefing in Queens Thursday with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Kathy Hochul.

    “We pray that the number does not go up from there,” Shea said.

    Passengers stand on their seats as Queens bus swamped by post-Ida floods
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    Among the dead was a family — a 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and a 2-year-old boy — who were found dead inside the basement of their Flushing, Queens home.

    The other deaths in Queens included Yue Lian Chen, 86; Phamatee Ramskriet, 43, and her 22-year-old son Khrishah Ramskriet; a 48-year-old woman; and three others – two males and a female – who haven’t been identified. The body of a 66-year-old man was discovered in the basement of his Cypress Hills, Brooklyn apartment.

    Another person was discovered in the backseat of their car on Grand Central Parkway in Queens Thursday morning.

    At least 12 died in New Jersey, including a 70-year-old man swept away in his car in Passaic and four found dead in the same Elizabeth apartment complex.

    A man’s body was found inside a car buried up to its hood in dirt in Milford Borough, while two were killed in Hillsborough and two in Bridgewater.

    Another died in Westchester when they were washed away by flash floods while trying to leave their car, and a Connecticut State Police trooper also died when his cruiser was swept away. The sergeant had 26 years of service with the state police.

    Cars were stuck on a street flooded by heavy rain in Queens
    Cars were stuck on a street flooded by heavy rain in Queens.

    Elsewhere along East Coat, a 19-year-old man was found dead in a flooded apartment complex in Rockville, Maryland, and three people were found dead in Pennsylvania: One killed by a tree, one who drowned in a car and another in a home.

    Deborah Torres, who lives on the first floor of the building where the little boy and his parents died in Queens, told the Post the water was up to the ceiling in the basement where the family were trapped.

    She said the landlord, who lives on the third floor, was frantically calling for the family to get out.

    “It was impossible to get out because the water was already up to my knees and I’m on the second floor so can you imagine (the basement)? It was like a pool with stairs. I think all the pressure of the water from the neighborhood built up,” Torres said.

    “The pressure was too strong that they couldn’t open the door. They usually used the side door but it was locked.”

    Martha Suarez, the little boy’s teacher, showed up to the house Thursday morning for his session – only to find out the family had drowned.

    Suarez told the Post the boy had autism and the family had been living in the US for several years after moving from the Philippines.

    “They were a lovely family. He was a happy boy,” she said through tears.

    Floodwater surrounds vehicles following heavy rain on the BQE in Brooklyn.
    Floodwater surrounds vehicles on the BQE in Brooklyn following the heavy rain.
    AFP via Getty Images
    Deaths were also reported in Pennsylvania and Maryland, where a 19-year-old man was found dead in a flooded apartment complex in Rockville after rescue crews found water had almost reached the ceilings of basement units.

    The storm wreaked havoc on the region’s utility and transit systems.

    More than 200,000 electricity customers were still without power early Thursday across the northeast – mostly in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, according to PowerOutage.US.

    New York’s FDR Drive and the Bronx River Parkway were flooded, submerging cars up to their windows and forcing drivers to leave their vehicles behind.

    A dozen cars that had been submerged up to their windows laid abandoned along the FDR Thursday morning as recovery efforts were underway.

    Subway tracks and stations were submerged, prompting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to suspend all service. Some lines were running with limited service early Thursday.

    Cleanup underway after flash flooding in the city
    Play Video
    Videos showed water gushing onto the tracks at various subway stations. Other footage showed vehicles floating down flooded streets and torrents of water tearing through ground floor apartments across the city.

    In New Jersey, the NJ Transit suspended rail services, except the Atlantic City Rail Line, and the Newark Light Rail was also halted. Newark International Airport shutdown overnight but restarted limited flights Thursday morning.

    New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont all issued emergency declarations for their states.

    President Biden said he’d spoken to the governors Thursday, adding that Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel were on the ground to provide assistance.

    At a press conference in Queens, Hochul, the newly-sworn in chief executive, pledged to ensure the havoc and loss of life caused by flooding doesn’t occur in the future.

    “What happened yesterday –– trains were shut down, people were stranded. The fear that they must have experienced I cannot imagine,” she said. “I don’t want this to happen again.”

    The National Weather Service issued its first-ever flash flood warning for the city, which is an alert reserved only for when “a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is happening or will happen soon.”

    “To be clear… this particular warning for NYC is the second time we’ve ever issued a Flash Flood Emergency (It’s the first one for NYC). The first time we’ve issued a Flash Flood Emergency was for Northeast New Jersey an hour ago,” the NWS tweeted.

    The National Weather Service recorded 3.15 inches of rain fell in Central Park in an hour, from 8:51 to 9:51 pm — believed to be the most ever. Tropical Storm Henri dumped 1.94 inches there last month.

    Additional reporting Georgett Roberts, Gabrielle Fonrouge

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