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Monday, July 22, 2024

Video: Emergency declared over New York flooding

New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley have seen train lines shut down and highways flooded after overnight deluge

Sudden, heavy rain in the northeastern US has triggered flash flooding across large areas of New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley on Friday, leading Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams to declare emergencies.

With up to five inches of rain reportedly hitting southern New York in the early hours of Friday morning, many city streets and over half of its subway system were rendered impassable by morning rush hour.

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The MetroNorth railroad that serves the Hudson Valley saw some sections suspended. Several major highways through Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn were rendered impassable by large pools of standing floodwaters.

Videos posted to social media showed waterfalls of rain pouring into subway stations and even buses, neighborhoods seemingly submerged, and parkways transformed into lakes of floating cars by the downpour.

Hochul and Adams both warned New Yorkers to stay indoors owing to the “extreme weather,” with the governor revealing that the state had been “upgraded” to a 70% chance of flash flooding, with up to an inch of rain likely landing per hour.

She also insisted drivers keep off not only flooded roads but roads that might potentially become flooded. On broadcaster 1010WINS, she said: “If you are driving on a road and you start to see the water puddling on the street, you need to get off the road immediately.”

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If you’re at home, stay home. If you’re at work or in school, shelter in place,” Mayor Adams advised, after declaring his own emergency following a consultation with the governor.

Rain –even heavy rain– is not unusual in New York City, though the outsize damage attributed to several recent storms has inspired much speculation about the cause. While some have been quick to blame climate change alone, a University of Rhode Island study published in May claimed the combined weight of New York City’s million-plus buildings was causing the city to sink up to two millimeters annually, helping transform once-uneventful weather patterns into devastating events.

The Hudson Valley suffered a “thousand-year rain event” earlier this year when eight inches of it fell in just three hours in July, washing out highways and houses and causing at least one death.

An AP-NORC poll conducted earlier this month found that experiencing extreme weather had made more Americans believe in anthropogenic climate change.

After enduring a summer declared the hottest on record by the World Meteorological Organization, ten percent more respondents espoused belief that such changes were primarily the result of human activity.