Hurricane Ida: At least 44 dead as flash floods drown US states. 10 points
Hurricane Ida pummelled through at least four states in the northeast United States over the past day, triggering torrential rains and flash floods that swept away cars, submerged subway lines, and grounded airline flights from Virginia to New England. While it is difficult to zero in on an exact death toll, given the extent of the damages, most of the international news agencies reporting on the incident concur that at least 44 people have died so fa, including 13 in New York City, while many are still unaccounted for. Large swaths of the affected regions still remain waterlogged as officials struggle to provide an exact rundown of the situation.
Hurricane Ida, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the US Gulf Coast, made landfall on Sunday in Louisiana, destroying entire communities.
Here are the latest updates on the flash flood situation, triggered by Hurricane Ida, in the United States:
1. At least 23 from New Jersey have perished in the massive flooding, according to the state's governor Phil Murphy. A victim at the Maplewood Township in New Jersey was swept away by the flash floods while he was apparently trying to remove debris from storm drains in the area, the police said.
2. At least 13 people have lost their lives to Ida's remnant flooding in New York City, as per the Reuters news agency. Three of them were found dead in a basement at a borough in Queens, while four residents of Elizabeth, New Jersey, died at a public housing complex flooded by 8 feet (2.4m) of water.
3. CNN estimates that the death toll from flooding had risen to 46, highlighting that "dozens" have died in at least six Eastern States -- Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia -- after the storm brought unprecedented rainfall to some areas. Deaths have also been reported from suburban Westchester County.
4. Subway service in New York City remained "extremely limited," transit officials said, and commuter rail services to the suburbs were largely suspended. About 370 flights were canceled at New Jersey's Newark Liberty Airport.
5. Emergencies were declared for New York state, New York City, and New Jersey. The governors of the respective states have urged residents to stay home as crews worked to clear roadways and restore service to subways and commuter rail lines serving millions of residents. In New York City alone, emergency responders have rescued hundreds of people from vehicles on flooded roads and hundreds of others from the submerged subway lines.
6. Roadways were transformed into river-like torrents in minutes as the downpours struck on Wednesday night, trapping drivers in quickly rising floodwaters. In New York, nearly 500 vehicles were abandoned on flooded highways, garbage bobbed in streaming streets, and water cascaded into the city's subway tunnels, trapping at least 17 trains and disrupting service all day.
7. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service said that two "tree-snapping tornadoes" struck Maryland on Wednesday, one in Annapolis and another in Baltimore. A 19-year-old was reported to have died after trying to rescue his mother from a flooded apartment in Rockville, reported the Washington Post.
8. Hurricane Ida also made its presence felt in Philadelphia, where four people died as a result of the storm. A Connecticut state police sergeant, Brian Mohl, perished after his cruiser was swept away. Another death was reported in Maryland.
9. Officials said at least five people died in Pennsylvania, including one killed by a falling tree and another who drowned in his car after helping his wife to escape. In Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, the Schuylkill River inundated hotels, warehouses, and condominiums that line the river. Emergency squads were reported to be waiting for the waters to recede before starting evacuations of possibly hundreds of people who live in nearby apartments.
10. Hurricane Ida's soggy remnants merged with a storm front and soaked the Interstate 95 corridor, meteorologists said. Similar weather has followed hurricanes before, but experts said it was slightly exacerbated by climate change — warmer air holds more rain — and urban settings, where expansive pavement prevents water from seeping into the ground.
(With inputs from agencies)