NEWS

New York governor declares state of emergency over storm Ida

New Yorkers were inundated by flash flooding and heavy rains Thursday as Storm Ida wrought further havoc on the northeast United States, forcing airport closures and state of emergency declarations in their state and neighboring New Jersey.

Ida slammed into the southern state of Louisiana over the weekend, bringing severe flooding and tornadoes as it blazed a trail of destruction north.

New York governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency as the remnants of the storm caused massive flooding in the US’ financial and cultural capital, leaving the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens inundated by the deluge.

“Take shelter NOW. Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Move to a lower floor and stay away from windows,” tweeted New York City’s emergency notification body.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled at nearby Newark, LaGuardia and JFK airports and flooding has closed major roads across boroughs of the metropolis, including Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens.

The city earlier issued a rare flash flood emergency warning, urging residents to move to higher ground.

“Significant and life-threatening flash flooding is likely from the Mid-Atlantic into southern New England,” the National Weather Service said in a bulletin, adding three to eight inches of rain could drench the region through Thursday.

In Annapolis, 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the US capital, a tornado ripped up trees and toppled electricity poles.

Flooding elsewhere in Maryland killed a 19-year-old man and left another person missing after a building was inundated on Wednesday, bringing the death toll from Ida to seven.

– Lingering tornado threat -The NWS warned the threat of tornadoes would linger, with tornado watches in effect in parts of southern Connecticut, northern New Jersey, and southern New York.

“This is extremely dangerous and potentially deadly flash flooding ongoing in Somerset County, as well as others in the area,” the NWS account for Philadelphia metropolitan area tweeted late Wednesday, along with a video of a car trapped in churning water.

Ida is expected to continue steaming north and bring heavy rainfall on Thursday to New England, which was hit by a rare tropical storm in late August.

US President Joe Biden is due to travel Friday to Louisiana, where Ida destroyed buildings and left more than a million homes without power.

Hurricanes are common in the southern United States, but scientists have warned of a rise in cyclone activity as the ocean surface warms due to climate change, posing an increasing threat to the world’s coastal communities.

AFP

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