As the remnants of Hurricane Ida moved across the northeastern United States, it hit downstate New York with such a surprising force that the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency, a first for New York City.
“This was an exceedingly rare event with 6-10” of rainfall falling over a several hour period,” the service’s New York City office posted on its Twitter page early Thursday morning. “Take these warnings (and emergencies) seriously!!”
The weather service reported 7.19 inches of rain at Central Park, 6.89 inches at LaGuardia Airport and 8.44 inches across the Hudson in Newark, New Jersey. Those were record totals for Newark and LaGuardia and the fifth-highest one-day total for Central Park.
Hochul spoke at a news conference in Queens late Thursday morning with de Blasio, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other local and state leaders. The three said the storm shows the necessity to sustain the city’s infrastructure and make it more sustainable.
“We haven’t experienced this before, but we should expect it the next time,” she said.
Both Schumer and de Blasio expanded upon the governor’s comment, saying the hurricane itself was a result of global warming.
Like the governor, they said it represents what New Yorkers will suffer from future storms.
“Woe is us if we don’t do something about it quickly, both in building resilient infrastructure and going to clean power,” Schumer said.
The mayor added that Wednesday’s rain came just two weeks after Tropical Storm Henri. That storm hit Central Park with more than eight inches of precipitation and Brooklyn with almost 10 inches.
“This is the biggest wake-up call we could possibly get,” he said. The governor said she had already spoken with President Joe Biden, who promised to offer any resources and assistance the city and state need moving forward.
Later in the afternoon, she visited Great Neck Station in Nassau County to see how rescue efforts were going on Long Island before heading back to Queens to value transit workers for their work in aiding passengers who found themselves stranded in the flooding.
Photos circulated on social media and TV networks showing water flowing into the city’s subway system. That led to its second shutdown in less than a week , and the storm also affected other Metropolitan Transportation Authority rail lines that serve the region.