Millions endure flooding as Ida roars through northeast

Weather

NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) —  Ida is not done yet. The tropical depression is bringing widespread and potentially life-threatening flooding across the Northeast.

New York City was right in the storm’s bull’s-eye Wednesday night, with flood warnings in effect for the entire area.

The remnants of Ida had already stirred tornadoes farther south.

Video posted on twitter shows a massive tornado in South Jersey. 

Early Thursday, New York City declared a state of emergency, as the storm carried into New England with threats of more tornadoes.

New York’s FDR Drive, a major artery on the east side of Manhattan, and the Bronx River Parkway were under water by late Wednesday evening. Subway stations and tracks became so flooded that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended all service. Videos posted online showed subway riders standing on seats in cars filled with water.

Other videos showed vehicles submerged up to their windows on major roadways in and around the city and garbage bobbing down the streets.

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.”

New York City put in place a travel ban until 5 a.m. ET Thursday for all non-emergency vehicles.

The National Weather Service recorded 3.15 inches of rain in New York’s Central Park in one hour Wednesday night, far surpassing the 1.94 inches that fell in one hour during Tropical Storm Henri on the night of Aug. 21, which was believed at the time to be the most ever recorded in the park.

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.

The roof collapsed at the Postal Service building in Kearny, New Jersey, with people inside, police Sgt. Chris Levchak said. Rescue crews were on scene into the night, with no immediate word on the number of people or severity of injuries.

At least one death was reported in the state. Passaic Mayor Hector Lora told news outlets that someone died in the city after being submerged in their car.

Soaking rains prompted the evacuations of thousands of people after water reached dangerous levels at a dam near Johnstown, a Pennsylvania town nicknamed Flood City. An official said later Wednesday that the water levels near the dam were receding.

Utilities reported hundreds of thousands of customers without power in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In Rockville, Maryland, water had almost reached the ceilings of basement units Wednesday when crews arrived at an apartment complex. A 19-year-old was found dead, another person was missing and about 200 people from 60 apartments near Rock Creek were displaced, Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said Wednesday.

A tornado was believed to have touched down along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Near Annapolis, Maryland, at least 100 homes were damaged when Ida moved through the area, spinning up twisters.

Northeast of Pittsburgh, 40 students and a school bus driver were rescued after their bus became trapped in rising flood waters. 

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, city crews prepared for Ida by closing flood gates.

Across the northeast, 20 million people are in the high-risk zone for flooding and 32 million more are at moderate risk.

As for the tornadoes, the National Weather Service said it hasn’t been able to measure their speed yet or assess the damage, but there do not appear to be any injuries.

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