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Death, Devastation Revealed as Ida’s Floods Recede

As flood waters receded Thursday, authorities found the dead. The Associated Press reported at least eight people were found dead in basement apartments in New York City.

(TNS) - The remnants of Hurricane Ida, blamed for 25 deaths between Maryland and New York, caused devastating flooding throughout the Hudson Valley and New York City, prompting Gov. Kathy Hochul to declare a state of emergency Thursday in several Hudson Valley counties, New York City and its suburbs.

The despite being downgraded from a hurricane when it hit Louisiana days ago, the storm was deadly when it swept into the mid-Atlantic states. As flood waters receded Thursday, authorities found the dead. The Associated Press reported at least eight people were found dead in basement apartments in New York City.

Flooding forced New York to close the state Thruway between exits 12 in Nyack and 14 in Nanuet but the roadway was open by early afternoon. The Metropolitan Transit Authority suspended all Metro-North Service early Thursday morning, and the tracks remained closed as of 1 p.m.

“Torrential rainfall has resulted in flash flooding, power outages, travel disruptions and damage in impacted areas posing a threat to public health and safety,” the governor said early Thursday morning.

“I am directing state agencies, including the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the Department of Transportation, Thruway Authority, and others to take appropriate and immediate action to help respond and recover from this disaster.”

The state of emergency is in effect in Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties.

On CNN, Hochul called the storm “stunning in its scale,” adding, “New York City has been paralyzed.”

The remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through a large chunk of eastern upstate New York as well as the downstate metro area Wednesday and Thursday, dropping record amounts of rainfall.

Rainfall totals lessened north of New York City, but southern Ulster and Dutchess counties still received between 4-6 inches of rain during the storm, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Christina Speciale, while the northern parts of the counties received 2-4 inches.

The Wappinger Creek in Dutchess eclipsed flood stage at about 7:30 a.m. and was expected to continue rising, while the Rondout Creek, which runs through Kingston, peaked at 1.7 feet above flood stage at about the same time, according to Speciale.

Poughkeepsie received more than 5.5 inches of rain, breaking the record for the rainiest September day since records began being kept in 1931, according to the National Weather Service.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro declared a state of emergency in his county early Thursday, restricting non-essential travel until 9 a.m. in Amenia, Pleasant Valley, Dover, Washington, Millbrook, the town and city of Poughkeepsie, LaGrange, Union Vale, Wappinger, Wappingers Falls, Beekman, the town and village of Pawling, East Fishkill and Fishkill. At 9 a.m., Molinaro and county departments will reassess the current conditions.

Dutchess County’s Office of Emergency Management said as of 5 a.m. parts of at least 35 roads were closed in the county due to flooding or downed trees or power lines, including Route 9 in Fishkill, Route 52 in Fishkill and Route 82 in Lagrange.

“We mostly wanted to give ourselves enough time to assess where we are,” said Molinaro, who warns that travelers should still avoid the southeast corner of the county even with the ban being lifted. “Our focus is trying to get our larger roadways passable. That’ll take some time.”

Molinaro said there could be delayed flooding seen Thursday, based on upriver rain making its way downstream.

“Try to limit travel, be very careful about puddles and flooded areas,” said Molinaro. “There are some roadways that are washed away and you might not see the damage until it’s too late. Adhere to traffic cones, turn around in flooding conditions, and be respectful of those who are responding.”

The majority of the storm’s damage was in the southern part of the county, according to the departments of Public Works and Emergency Management.

Dutchess County’s 911 Center received 800 calls between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 5 a.m. Thursday, roughly twice the normal call volume, according to a county spokesman.

The county’s fire and emergency response crews have been responding to residential flooding and have been pumping out basements.

The storm was being blamed for at least nine deaths in New York and New Jersey, according to the Associated Press.

The wide swath of the storm covered much of the mid- Atlantic states on Wednesday and early Thursday with the northern edge of the storm passing over the Albany area.

The Capital Region was spared the deluge that inundated downstate areas.

The greatest amount of rain recorded in Albany County fell in Voorheesville where 1.2 inches of rain were recorded by 10:55 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

There had been no reports of problematic flooding in Columbia County, according to Columbia County 911, and Greene County Sheriff’s Sergeant Scott Christman said his department had not received any flooding reports.

Points to the south were hammered.

Beacon in Dutchess County measured 5.19 inches as of 10:50 p.m. and Wallkill in Ulster County had received 4.43 inches at the same point.

More than 4,000 Central Hudson customers were without power as of 9 a.m., including about 1,000 in Cornwall. NYSEG reported about 300 customers without power in Putnam County and 200 in Dutchess.

The weather service issued flash flood warning for those counties, cautioning that water could rise quickly and potentially endanger anyone caught in it.

The rain caused a rise in local streams and rivers and the weather service urged residents living near such waterways to keep their eye on the water level.

“Don’t drive through any flooded roadways,” the weather service wrote on Twitter. “Residents along small streams and creeks are urged to watch for flooding and move to higher ground if necessary.”

The storm delivered heavy flooding in New York City, prompting Mayor Bill de Blasio to declare a state of emergency.

The Associated Press reported major roadways in the city were under water and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended all services. Videos posted online showed subway riders standing on seats in cars filled with water.

The National Weather Service office in New York declared its first-ever set of flash flood emergencies in the region Wednesday night, an alert level that is reserved for “exceedingly rare situations when a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is happening or will happen soon.”

Earlier Wednesday, the storm blew through the mid- Atlantic states with at least two tornadoes, heavy winds and drenching rains that collapsed the roof of a U.S. Postal Service building in New Jersey and threatened to overrun a dam in Pennsylvania.

Social media posts showed homes reduced to rubble in a southern New Jersey county just outside Philadelphia, not far from where the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado Wednesday evening. Authorities did not have any immediate information on injuries.

An Associated Press article was used in this report.


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