Storm Ida kills 45 people across six US states
Flash floods and tornadoes have killed at least 45 people across six American states as remnants of Hurricane Ida continue to wreak havoc. New York and New Jersey, both of which are under a state of emergency, saw record levels of rainfall over the past couple of days. Hurricane Ida is one of the most powerful ever to hit the US Gulf Coast.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy confirmed at least 23 deaths in his state, many of whom were trapped in their vehicles as water levels rose. The storm claimed 14 lives in New York City, including a two-year-old boy. In Pennsylvania, five people lost their lives while a police officer died in Connecticut. Deaths were also reported from the states of Maryland and Virginia.
"We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 pm last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level of water to the streets of New York," Governor Kathy Hochul said. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has criticized weather experts for faulty forecasts. "We need to start communicating to people that things will be much worse."
Subway service in New York City remained "extremely limited," transit officials said. More than 800 people were rescued from the city's subways, the New York Police Department said. Further, around 370 flights were canceled at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport due to the storm. Separately, close to 500 vehicles had been abandoned on flooded highways in New York, according to reports.
Hurricane Ida had hit the state of Louisiana as a "Category 4" hurricane on Sunday, killing at least seven people across states and damaging small towns. In fact, parts of the state are still reeling from the hurricane. There are widespread power cuts there that reportedly may last several weeks. Louisiana is also witnessing severe water and gas shortages, mounting troubles for its residents.
President Joe Biden called the climate crisis "one of the great challenges of our time," informing he has promised federal aid to the Governors of New York and New Jersey. "This destruction is everywhere. And it's a matter of life and death, and we're all in this together," he said. The President is due to visit Louisiana on Friday to assess the situation there.