Updated Sep 3, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Deadly Northeast floods: More than 40 killed by Hurricane Ida's remnants

man in need deep water works in hood of partially submerged van in flooded intersection.
Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Remnants of Ida brought historic rainfall and flash flooding that caused chaos and power outages across the Northeastern U.S.

The latest: More than 40 deaths have been reported from the flooding from Maryland to Connecticut, the AP reports.

  • Twelve of the confirmed deaths were in New York City, where the victims ranged in age from 2 to 86, per the New York Times. At least 23 people died in New Jersey, according to Gov. Phil Murphy. Four were found dead in an apartment complex in Elizabeth, New Jersey, city spokeswoman Kelly Martins told Axios.
  • According to a report from insurance broker Aon, flood-related damage in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast is expected to result in a "double-digit billion economic damage toll,” which comes on top of a similar toll in the South.

Threat level: The National Weather Service declared flash flood emergencies across the Northeast, including for New York City — the first such NWS warning for NYC ever, as most Subway services were suspended due to heavy flooding.

  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared her first state of emergency early on Thursday — soon after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared one, along with a travel ban for all non-emergency vehicles through 5 a.m.

By the numbers: New York City's Central Park reported 3.15 inches of rain falling in one hour on Wednesday evening — the most on record.

  • Newark Airport recorded half an inch of rain in six minutes Wednesday evening. Within 23 minutes, 1.53 inches had fallen, according to an agency meteorologist.
  • Rainfall in Newark has surpassed has shattered previous record daily rainfall of 6.73" and is expected to continue to climb.

Of note: Rainfall in much of the Northeastern U.S. was likely to qualify as a one in 100- to 500-year event, according to NWS discussions and other meteorologists.

  • Power outages were estimated to have hit over 101,000 customers in Pennsylvania, more than 73,000 in N.J., over 51,000 in N.Y. and more than 34,000 in Connecticut as of 3 a.m. Thursday due to the extreme weather — driven by the remnants of Hurricane Ida and other storm systems.

The big picture: Earlier Wednesday, multiple large tornados were confirmed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with smaller tornados in Maryland.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: Though the extreme rainfall to hit the Northeast was well predicted, it was about as severe as forecasters feared — and the storm turned into a rain machine that's had its greatest effects across heavily populated areas.

  • Climate change is raising the odds and intensity of extreme precipitation events such as this one, while also making hurricanes dump more inland rainfall overall, studies show.

What to expect: "A high risk for excessive rain and flooding extends from the central Appalachians to southern New England," the National Weather Service said on Thursday morning.

  • "Also, severe thunderstorms with tornadoes and damaging winds are probable in parts of the Mid-Atlantic."

Go deeper... In photos: Ida's impact across the U.S.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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