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Emergency declared in NYC as rainwater swallows streets

Sep 29, 2023 10:05 PM IST

NYC leaders warn of widespread flooding as heavy rainfall disrupts transportation and daily life. Travel advisory issued.

NYC leaders are warning residents of widespread flooding conditions as heavy rainfall continues to batter the area, causing significant disruptions to transportation and daily life. The New York City Emergency Management Department issued a travel advisory for all of Friday and Saturday morning, urging caution and preparedness.

A police officer from the NYPD Highway Patrol looks on near cars stuck in a flooded motorway after heavy rains as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia bring flooding across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, at the FDR Drive in Manhattan near the Williamsburg bridge, in New York City, U.S., September 29, 2023. (REUTERS)

"All New Yorkers need to exercise caution," warned NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol. "If you must travel, consider using public transportation and allow for extra travel time, and if you must drive, do not enter flooded roadways. If you live in a basement apartment, especially in a flood-prone area, be prepared to move to higher ground."

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Subway services have been severely impacted, with multiple lines suspended due to flooding on tracks. Major roads, including the FDR Drive and Central Park transverses, have been closed due to flooding, making commutes extremely challenging. LaGuardia Airport's Terminal A was shut down after water flooded inside the building, causing disruptions for travellers.

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To prepare for the ongoing emergency, the city has activated a flash flood plan, with crews checking catch basins and roads in flood-prone areas. Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for affected areas, emphasizing the importance of precautionary measures.

As part of the safety measures, the city released a list of tips for residents:

Allow for extra travel time and use public transportation when possible.

If driving, do so slowly and use major streets or highways.

Avoid flooded streets and subway stations.

Check on vulnerable individuals, such as older adults and people with disabilities.

Stay informed through emergency alerts and updates from the city.

Also Read | Floods, wildfires and hurricanes: Climate impact can be ambiguous

The heavy rain and flooding are expected to persist into Saturday morning, with a flood watch in effect for the entire tri-state area. Rainfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour are anticipated, with some areas expecting up to 5-8 inches before the storm subsides. Due to the saturated soil from previous rain, serious flooding and flash flooding conditions are likely.

While the city's response teams are on standby to address any issues, residents are urged to take necessary precautions, especially during their morning commutes. The MTA has suspended several subway lines, and interruptions in service are possible in flood-prone areas.

Residents are advised to stay updated through channels like Notify NYC and Twitter (@NotifyNYC) for emergency notifications and updates. Despite the challenges, the rain is expected to clear by Saturday morning

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