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New York City area under state of emergency after storms flood subways, strand people in cars

SOURCE: BBC – A state of emergency has been declared in New York City as strong storms bring flash flooding.

Many of the city’s subway systems, streets and highways have flooded, while at least one terminal at LaGuardia Airport closed on Friday.

Up to five inches (12.7cm) of rain fell in some areas overnight, and up to seven more inches (17.8cm) are due, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has said.

“This is a dangerous, life-threatening storm,” she added.

She urged people to take steps to stay safe and “never attempt to travel on flooded roads”.

No deaths or critical injuries have been reported.

A state of emergency was also declared in the New Jersey town of Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City.

In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams, warned people it was a time for “heightened alertness and extreme caution” as the state of emergency was put in place.

“Some of our subways are flooded and it is extremely difficult to move around the city,” he told a press briefing.

Authorities have so far conducted at least six rescues of residents trapped in flooded basements, according to officials.

Pictures and video footage showed people wading through water reaching up to their knees, as streets and subways were hit by heavy rain. Several videos posted to social media appeared to show water pouring from the ceiling and walls of subway stations and onto inundated platforms.

Much of the flooding has so far centred on the borough of Brooklyn, where a flash flood warning is in effect until 14:30 local time (19:30 GMT).

More than 2.5 inches of rain was reported in one hour in Brooklyn Navy Yard. In a virtual briefing, New York’s chief climate officer Rohit Aggarwala said that the city’s sewage system was only designed to handle 1.75 inches an hour.

“It’s no surprise that parts of Brooklyn have borne the brunt of this,” he said.

One resident, Kelly Hayes, told the BBC that she estimated that the flood damage to her bar and kitchen in the Gowanus neighbourhood will cost between $25,000 and $30,000 (£20,500-$24,500).

Residents escape the rising floodwaters in New York City
Residents escape the rising floodwaters in New York City

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) advised people to stay home if they did not need to travel.

Terminal A at La Guardia Airport is currently closed because of flooding, authorities said.

Passengers were advised to check with their airline before travelling.

The New York Police Department also announced multiple road closures and said the National Guard had been deployed.

Elsewhere, traffic hit a standstill as water rose above cars’ tires along a stretch of the FDR Drive – a major road along the east side of Manhattan.

And in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, workers waded through knee-high water as they tried to unclog a drain as cardboard and other debris floated by.

There had been no storm-related deaths or critical injuries as of midday (1600 GMT), city officials said.

Flood warnings and advisories from the weather service are currently in place for some 18 million people in the New York metropolitan area and in other major cities along the East Coast.

New York City has had nearly 14 inches of rain so far this month, making it the wettest September since 1882, according to National Weather Service data

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