Home Latest News New York City’s Recovery from Severe Flooding: “It Felt Like Living in a Lake”

New York City’s Recovery from Severe Flooding: “It Felt Like Living in a Lake”

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New York City’s Recovery from Severe Flooding: “It Felt Like Living in a Lake”

New York City experienced one of its wettest days in decades as heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding and disrupted transportation systems. Record-breaking rainfall, surpassing levels seen during Hurricane Donna in 1960, hit John F. Kennedy International Airport and parts of Brooklyn, turning streets into canals and stranding drivers. While no deaths or severe injuries were reported, the storm stirred up memories of the devastating remnants of Hurricane Ida that caused deaths in flooded basement apartments just two years prior. City officials declared states of emergency and advised residents to stay put if possible. The deluge was attributed to a combination of the remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia and a mid-latitude system, exacerbated by a warming atmosphere that can hold more moisture, leading to more frequent extreme rainfall events.

The heavy rainfall caused chaos across New York City, with highways, subways, and airports temporarily closing. Transportation was severely disrupted, with subway lines suspended or rerouted, and bus services affected. Drivers abandoned their vehicles on the FDR Drive as water levels rose above their car tires. Workers in Brooklyn waded through knee-deep water to unclog storm drains, while residents improvised makeshift bridges using milk crates and wooden boards to navigate flooded sidewalks. Flights at LaGuardia Airport were halted and delayed due to water in the refueling area, while flooding forced the closure of one of the airport’s terminals. Other cities and towns near New York City, including Hoboken, New Jersey, also experienced flooding.

The unprecedented rainfall was caused by the combination of the remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia and a mid-latitude system, which sat over New York for 12 hours. The National Weather Service had issued warnings of heavy rainfall and advised emergency managers to expect more than 6 inches of rain in some areas. The warming atmosphere, due to climate change, has increased the frequency of extreme rainfall events by enabling the atmosphere to hold more moisture. Despite ocean and air temperatures being relatively normal, the amount of rainfall seen in Central Park was unusual and marked the third time in two years that rain fell at rates near 2 inches per hour.

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