New York City Under State of Emergency as Floodwaters Inundate the Streets

Posted: September 29, 2023 1:17 pm

A state of emergency has been declared in New York City after a month’s worth of rain fell across some parts of the Big Apple early Friday. Here is the latest on this rapidly changing situation in the nation’s most populated metropolitan area.

Morning Commute a Mess in New York City Thanks to Record Rainfall

Torrential downpours unleashed by a coastal storm that came together off the coast of the Northeast triggered mass amounts of flooding in New York City. The flooding has been so severe that subway service has been disrupted and many facets of life have come to a standstill to end the work week.

Over four inches of rain was dumped on Brooklyn in a period of only three hours. The National Weather Service (NWS) reported that rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour were observed in some parts of the city. The NWS warned that the hardest hit areas of the Tri-State region could see rainfall amounts of over 8 inches by the time that the storm system pushes through.

Over 5 inches of rain have also been measured at New York’s Central Park. Two of those inches came between 9 and 10 am EDT. This is good enough to be distinguished as the second-wettest hour in 80 years for the famous park.

Although New York City received a break from the rain by the end of Friday morning, more precipitation is on tap for the afternoon and evening hours. New York City Mayor Eric Adams cautioned residents that the breaks in the rain do not mean that the storm is over.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared the state of emergency for New York City, Long Island, and the Lower Hudson Valley. In addition, 8.5 million people were put under flash flood warnings in the area in and around Manhattan.

Travel Disrupted Throughout Metro Area

Roads were quickly underwater in portions of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. The heavy rain also flooded roads across the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey. Local officials had to launch water rescues as people became trapped in the raging waters. The NYPD and FDNY were kept busy all morning dealing with roof and ceiling collapses as a result of the torrential rain.

Not surprisingly, it has been a challenging day for air travel. As of mid-day Friday, New York’s LaGuardia airport has seen the worst of the disruptions. Officials were forced to close Terminal A at the airport.

Approximately 1.19 inches of rain fell at John F. Kennedy International Airport over a period of just one hour Friday morning. In total, the airport in Queens has recorded over 4 inches of rain since midnight. This was enough to land the day in the top 10 of wettest days ever recorded at this airport.

New York City is under a travel advisory through 6 am EDT Saturday. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has installed drain cover and pump trains in some of the most vulnerable stations in an effort to keep as many lines running as possible. NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol said that all New Yorkers need to be prepared for delays through Saturday morning.

What is Next?

The rain is forecast to pick up again later in the day in New York City. The slow-moving storm will also increase its reach, heading as far south as the eastern portion of the mid-Atlantic and as far north as southern New England. This part of the East Coast will be under the threat of heavy rain through mid-day Saturday. More pleasant conditions are in store by the end of the weekend for the Northeast and New England.

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