Refresh for updates… Nine New Yorkers died in last night’s record-setting “horrifying storm,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference this morning, who added “nine people who were alive at this time yesterday.”
“We saw a horrifying storm last night unlike anything we have ever seen before,” de Blasio said, adding, “The suddenness and brutality of storms we are seeing now, it is different…this is the biggest wake-up call we could get.”
The mayor also said that first responders rescued ‘hundreds and hundreds” of New Yorkers from subway trains and homes. Eight of the nine deaths occurred in homes in the borough of Queens, with the ninth in a car on a highway.
De Blasio joined New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in calling for federal assistance and assuring New Yorkers that President Joe Biden has already pledged federal help. “We’re still uncovering the true depth of the loss,” said Hochul, who recently took office following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo.
“We will do everything we can to get all federal funding needed,” Schumer said, adding, “Global warming is upon us. When you get two record rainfalls in a week, that is not a coincidence…Woe is us if we don’t recognize that these changes are due to climate change, and woe is us if we don’t do something about it quickly.”
The remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded many New York City streets Wednesday night, and left at least nine people dead in New York City and at least 23 in New Jersey. States of emergency in both New York and New Jersey have been declared.
Record levels of rainfall soaked the Northeast Wednesday night, with more than 7 inches of rain falling in Central Park between 4 a.m. Wednesday and 4 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Subway platforms and commuter rail lines flooded and closed, Amtrak canceled Thursday morning service in the region, flights were grounded in New York and New Jersey airports and flash flood emergencies were declared.
More than half of the subway lines in New York City remained closed or disrupted on Thursday morning. Amtrak canceled all service between Washington, D.C. and Boston for the remainder of the day.
Rainfall in Central Park broke a record set only days before: On Wednesday night, 3.15 inches of rain fell in one hour, exceeding the 1.94 inch-record set just days before during Tropical Storm Henri. The Public Theater canceled last night’s performance of Shakespeare in the Park’s Merry Wives an hour before the 8 p.m. start time: “We normally do not cancel a performance prior to 8PM, but the safety of our artists, staff, and audience is our priority,” the Public tweeted at 7:05 p.m.
The New York Times reports today that during at least one Broadway show – Pass Over – emergency phone alerts “rippled through” the audience as the actors stayed in character and continued the performance.
Audiences at New York’s Film Forum cinema were watching the 1969 French film La Piscine when rainwater began to enter the theater. Tweeted one audience member: “Film forum flooded during our screening of la piscine and we all got vouchers.” The tweeter joked that the screening of the film (which translates to The Swimming Pool) was “4D.”
Actors’ Equity Association on Thursday morning tweeted a reminder to its members and staff that “resources are available to everyone who works in performing arts and entertainment” dealing with the storm’s aftermath.
We're thinking about all our members and staff dealing with the aftermath of last night's storm. Don't forget @TheActorsFund resources are available to everyone who works in performing arts and entertainment. https://t.co/TG94eTcJsc
— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) September 2, 2021
Film forum flooded during our screening of la piscine and we all got vouchers.. it’s giving 4D
— c y b e r h u n k (@spunky_hunk) September 2, 2021
Although New York City officials had confirmed only nine weather-related deaths as of Thursday morning, more deaths are being attributed to Ida throughout the area including New Jersey. Though names of the dead have not been released, the victims include a two-year-old boy, a 48-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man all found in a home in Queens.
Local media reports indicate a victim in Passaic, N.J. was trapped in a car on a flooded street. The mayor of Passaic told MSNBC this morning that at least two other people in his city are feared to have been swept away in the flooded streets.
At a press conference Thursday morning, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy indicated that some of the state’s storm casualties might have been the result of residents seeking basement shelter during last night’s tornado warnings only to get trapped by flash flooding.
“The world is changing, right?,” a grim Murphy said. “These storms are coming in more frequently. We’ve gotta leap forward and get out ahead of this. Any infrastructure money we get, I bet a lot of it will be put into resilient infrastructure.”
Murphy later reported that at least 23 New Jersey residents were dead, most of whom were trapped in vehicles.
I am saddened to report that, as of right now, at least 23 New Jerseyans have lost their life to this storm.
The majority of these deaths were individuals who got caught in their vehicles by flooding and were overtaken by the water.
Our prayers are with their family members.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) September 2, 2021
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