The remains of Hurricane Ida batters New York and New Jersey

 Thursday, September 2, 2021 


Hurricane Ida

The remains of Hurricane Ida wrecked havoc in New York City and New Jersey on Wednesday September 1 as it hit the region with furious winds and heavy rains flooding subway lines and damaging houses.

The National Weather Service reportedly recorded rainfall rates of at least 7cm to 12 cm in an hour across north-east New Jersey and parts of New York City. The area was under a flash flood emergency for the first time. A tornado warning was also raised in Bronx.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency on Wednesday night due and called the storm a “historic weather event” with record-breaking rain across the city leading to floods and dangerous road conditions.

New York City banned all non-emergency vehicles were banned from New York City’s streets until 5 am on Thursday due to the weather. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency in response to Ida. As per the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, heavy rains delayed train operations in Manhattan as crews worked to drain water.

Meteorologists said that the storm advancing towards New England has brought heavy rains that can lead to life-threatening flooding. The weather also prompted a series of tornado warnings across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, including a warning for Philadelphia.

The National Weather Service reportedly informed that a “large and extremely dangerous” tornado had been observed south of the city, near Gloucester City, New Jersey. Social media content from Wednesday showed damaged houses and broken trees in the Harrison Township area in Gloucester County.

The weather service also shared a video of a large tornado moving over the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, which connects Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Wenonah, another small borough in Gloucester County, in southern New Jersey, was heavily flooded. Mayor John R. Dominy mentioned that the region “suffered extensive damage following this evening’s tornado event”. He also requested residents to call 911 for emergencies and to stay home or in a safe place.

The storm caused 57,519 power outages statewide and the number continued to keep rising as per New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s update on Twitter. Residents in Lambertville, New Jersey, roughly 64km north of Philadelphia, posted photos that showed streets were filled with brown waters and cars submerged up to their tires.

Some parts of the North-east faced dual threats as several flash flood warnings were issued throughout the night. A flash flood emergency was issued for north-eastern Chester County, north-western Delaware County and Montgomery County in south-eastern Pennsylvania. The weather service said it had received reports of rainfall totalling 11cm to 17cm, with more rainfall expected.

Earlier in the day, after a tornado watch was issued for south-eastern Pennsylvania, most of New Jersey, Delaware and eastern Maryland, meteorologists with the weather service in Baltimore confirmed that a tornado had touched down near Annapolis, Maryland. They said they had not been able to measure its speed or assess the damage.

Annapolis city spokesman Mitchelle Stephenson said that the tornado had left about 2,500 residents without power, and that the city had received reports of fallen trees. The fire and police departments had closed streets to assess the damage. Although road were obstructed by derailed utility poles, signs and trees no injuries had been reported.

The weather service in Baltimore warned that high winds could cause damage to houses and mobile homes, and asked residents in the south-eastern part of the state to take cover in a basement or on the lowest available floor of a sturdy building. The governors of Virginia and West Virginia also declared states of emergency on Tuesday night before the system’s arrival.

Forecasters also mentioned that widespread river flooding could occur in southern Pennsylvania and in New Jersey, particularly in the Monongahela, Potomac, Susquehanna, Delaware and lower Hudson River basins. The weather service instructed the 42,000 residents in the area of central Pennsylvania that includes Johnstown, Ferndale and Dale to move to higher ground citing the situation as life-threatening.

In central Pennsylvania, Wilmore Dam was brimming with approximately 91cm of rainwater, as per meteorologists.  It was mentioned that more rain water could lead to dam damage.

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