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State of Emergency declared for New York City along with shelter-in-place due to widespread flooding

This is wettest September day on record for JFK Airport and Top 10 wettest day overall for the city since 1869.



Unprecedented rainfall inundated New York City on Friday, overwhelming the city’s sewer infrastructure and resulting in a deluge of floodwater streaming through streets, residential basements, schools, subways, and vehicles in the nation’s most densely populated metropolis.

The water levels surged rapidly, catching many commuters by surprise as they navigated through the morning rush hour. Swiftly, first responders sprang into action, rescuing individuals from stranded vehicles and basements that filled up like bathtubs.

At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, nearly 8 inches of rain poured down in a single day, marking the highest recorded amount since 1948. In Brooklyn, a month’s worth of rainfall came down in just three hours during the peak of the storm on Friday morning.

According to scientists, these extraordinary figures are a clear indication of climate change. A warmer atmosphere functions like a large sponge, capable of absorbing more water vapor and subsequently releasing it in concentrated bursts, which can swiftly surpass outdated flood defenses.

During a news conference on Friday morning, Rohit Aggarwala, New York City’s Chief Climate Officer, emphasized that the current shift in weather patterns is a direct consequence of climate change.

He expressed the unfortunate reality that our climate is undergoing transformations at a pace that exceeds the capacity of our infrastructure to adapt. By late Friday afternoon, a substantial 3 to 6 inches of rain had been recorded across New York City.

Although rain will persist through the evening, it is expected to gradually subside. In response to the severe flooding, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley on Friday morning.

The deluge inundated subways and railways, resulting in significant disturbances. This included the suspension of service on ten train lines in Brooklyn and all three Metro-North train lines. Governor Hochul announced that additional buses would be deployed to mitigate the impact of the train suspensions.

Unfortunately, air travel experienced similar challenges, with flight delays affecting all three New York City area airports on Friday. In a particularly notable event, flooding within the historic Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia airport necessitated its closure. This terminal, which serves Spirit and Frontier airlines, is the smallest at the airport.

A travel advisory is in place for New York City until 6 a.m. ET Saturday, with the potential for additional flooding. The National Weather Service has issued a “moderate” Level 3 out of 4 risk for flash flooding in the New York tri-state area for the remainder of Friday.

This flood risk extends beyond New York City and affects approximately 25 million individuals across the Northeast.