More than 45 dead after Ida’s remnants blindside Northeast

Pedestrians take cover near Columbus Circle in New York Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida remained powerful while moving along the Eastern seaboard.
Tropical_Weather_New_York_93632 A subway station that had earlier flooded remains closed after a state of emergency was declared in New York Thursday, Sept 2, 2021, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida remained powerful as it moved along the Eastern seaboard.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_76409 The Manayunk section is flooded in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
The Manayunk section is flooded in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
Tropical_Weather_New_York_34886 A subway station that had earlier flooded remains closed after a state of emergency was declared in New York Thursday, Sept 2, 2021, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida remained powerful as it moved along the Eastern seaboard.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_69787 Shown is flooding in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_77936 Damage to the side of a building from the remnants of Hurricane Ida is shown on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York. Some of the occupants were killed when several feet of water collapsed the wall to their basement apartment and flooded the apartment.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_71627 Ragendra Shivprasad, left, the landlord of a building where some of the occupants were killed when several feet of water collapsed the wall to a basement apartment, stands with neighbors as they watch the scene, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, as freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Altlantic_08688 Danny Hong shows where the water reached up to him as he shows the damage in his basement apartment on 153rd St. in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, with at least nine deaths linked to flooding in the region as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Altlantic_41238 A hole in the foundation where a window once was and flood waters rushed in is seen in a home on 153rd St. in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, with multiple deaths linked to flooding in the region as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Altlantic_53095 A hole in the foundation where a window once was and flood waters rushed in is seen in the basement apartment on 153rd St. in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, with multiple deaths linked to flooding in the region as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Altlantic_35430 Police officers use a yellow tarp to block the view as bodies are removed from a flooded basement apartment on Peck Ave. in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, with multiple deaths linked to flooding in the region as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Altlantic_58004 The flood water line is seen just above glasses hanging over a sink in a basement apartment on 153rd St. in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, with multiple deaths linked to flooding in the region as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Altlantic_31616 Emergency service personnel work at the scene of a basement apartment where bodies were found on Peck Ave. in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, with multiple nine deaths linked to flooding in the region as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Altlantic_05586 Teresa Eng cleans out her bedroom in a her basement apartment in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, with at least nine deaths linked to flooding in the region as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_New_York_82754 Pedestrians take cover near Columbus Circle in New York Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida remained powerful while moving along the Eastern seaboard.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_18745 Vehicles are under water during flooding in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_32910 A vehicle is under water during flooding in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_72740 Vehicles are under water during flooding in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
Tropical_Weather_New_York_34764 Cars and trucks are stranded by high water Thursday, Sept 2, 2021, on the Major Deegan Expressway in Bronx borough of New York as high water left behind by Hurricane Ida still stands on the highway hours later.
Tropical_Weather_New_York_67179 A person who eventually waded to a truck, moves amongst cars and other trucks that are stranded by high water Thursday, Sept 2, 2021, on the Major Deegan Expressway in Bronx borough of New York as high water left behind by Hurricane Ida still stands on the highway hours later.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_New_York_88592 The lights of Times Square in New York are reflected in standing water Thursday, Sept 2, 2021, as Hurricane Ida left behind not just water on city streets but wind damage and severe flooding along the Eastern seaboard.
Tropical_Weather_New_York_96536 Cars and trucks are stranded by high water Thursday, Sept 2, 2021, on the Major Deegan Expressway in Bronx borough of New York as high water left behind by Hurricane Ida still stands on the highway hours later.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_90131 Shown is flooding in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_83056 Abandoned cars sit in high water on a road in Lodi, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_58208 An abandoned car sits in high water on a road in Lodi, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_35841 A man makes his way through a flooded street in Teterboro, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_03494 Cars make their way through flooded streets and around abandoned cars in Teterboro, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_08689 Cars make their way through flooded streets and around abandoned cars in Teterboro, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_55115 People view a flooded street in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_65143 Felix Delapuente, a neighbor fo the home in the Queens borough of New York where three people died including a 2-year old child, shows the flood damage in his basement, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, with several deaths linked to flooding in the region as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Altlantic_54639 Democratic candidate for mayor of New York Eric Adams, center, talks to reporters outside a home where people were killed when their basement apartment was flooded in the Jamaica neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, flooding the region with water as freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Altlantic_24029 New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, and DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza, right, speak to a resident the Jamaica neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York after a news conference near a home where people died after their basement apartment flooded, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City as freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_64647 Children launch homemade sailboats as a resident wades through a flooded street to check on a neighbor's house after the remnants of Hurricane Ida passed through the area, Thursday, Sep. 2, 2021, in Narragansett, R.I.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_06539 A person walks in floodwaters in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_65232 A motorcyclist drives through floodwaters in Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_15719 People look at a flooded street as the Schuylkill River exceeds its bank in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_27306 An employee of United Automatic Fire Sprinkler helps to clean up after the business was flooded from the remnants of Hurricane Ida that hit the area in Woodland Park, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_87881 The Manayunk neighborhood in Philadelphia is flooded Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in the aftermath of downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_77936 Damage to the side of a building from the remnants of Hurricane Ida is shown on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York. Three people were killed when several feet of water collapsed the wall to their basement apartment and flooded the apartment.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_64706 Waves slam along the shore near high tide as the remnants of Hurricane Ida leave coastal Massachusetts, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Scituate, Mass.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_47237 Damage to the side of a building from the remnants of Hurricane Ida is shown on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York. Three people were killed when several feet of water collapsed the wall to their basement apartment and flooded the apartment.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_71627 Ragendra Shivprasad, left, the landlord of a building where three people were killed when several feet of water collapsed the wall to a basement apartment, stands with neighbors as they watch the scene, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in the Queens borough of New York. The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over New York City, as freeways and boulevards turned into rivers, submerging cars.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_65308 Vehicles that are submerged are seen on Bulter Are. near Morris Rd. in Montgomery County, Pa. Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. The remnants of hurricane Ida brought heavy rains and possible tornadoes to the area
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_96176 A home that was damaged by a possible tornado is seen on the corner of Josephine and Marvin Lanes in Harrison Township, N.J, Wednesday Sept. 1, 2021. The remnants of hurricane Ida brought heavy rains and possible tornadoes to the area
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_66857 A home which was damaged by a possible tornado is seen on Josephine Lane in Harrison Township, N.J., Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. The remnants of hurricane Ida brought heavy rains and possible tornadoes to the area
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_63714 Flooded Morris Road is closed at its intersection with Bulter Are. in Montgomery County, Pa., Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. The remnants of hurricane Ida brought heavy rains and possible tornadoes to the area
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_31934 An emergency vehicle navigates a flooded Westtown Road at Chateau Drive in Westtown Township, Pa. Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. Heavy rain from the remnants of Ida moved into Chester County.
Tropical_Weather_Atlantic_78619 Members of the Weldon Fire Company walk through floodwaters in Dresher, Pa. after downpours and high winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, hit the area Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021.
Severe_Weather_Pennsylvania_54161 A raging Little Conemaugh River is shown at its confluence with the Stonycreek Rivers (which form the Conemaugh River) at the historic Stone Bridge in downtown Johnstown, Pa., Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. Emergency officials rushed to evacuate about 3,000 people below a dam near Johnstown on Wednesday after hours of heavy rains triggered plans to ensure the safety of downstream residents.
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NEW YORK (AP) — A stunned U.S. East Coast faced a rising death toll, surging rivers and tornado damage Thursday after the remnants of Hurricane Ida walloped the region with record-breaking rain, drowning more than 40 people in their homes and cars.

In a region that had been warned about potentially deadly flash flooding but hadn’t braced for such a blow from the no-longer-hurricane, the storm killed at least 46 people from Maryland to Connecticut on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

At least 23 people died in New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said. At least 13 people were killed in New York City, police said, 11 of them in flooded basement apartments, which often serve as relatively affordable homes in one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets. Suburban Westchester County reported three deaths.

Officials said at least five people died in Pennsylvania, including one killed by a falling tree and another who drowned in his car after helping his wife to escape. A Connecticut state police sergeant, Brian Mohl, perished after his cruiser was swept away. Another death was reported in Maryland.

Sophy Liu said she tried using towels and garbage bags to stop the water coming into her first-floor New York City apartment, but the flood rose to her chest in just a half hour. She roused her son from bed, put him in a life jacket and inflatable swimming ring and tried to flee, but the door stuck. She called two friends who helped her jar it loose.

“I was obviously scared, but I had to be strong for my son. I had to calm him down,” she recalled Thursday as medical examiners removed three bodies from a home down her Queens street.

In another part of Queens, water rapidly filled Deborah Torres’ first-floor apartment to her knees as her landlord frantically urged her neighbors below — among them a toddler — to get out, she said. But the water rushed in so strongly that she surmised they weren’t able to open the door. The three residents died.

“I have no words,” she said. “How can something like this happen?”

Ida’s soggy remnants merged with a storm front and soaked the Interstate 95 corridor, meteorologists said. Similar weather has followed hurricanes before, but experts said it was slightly exacerbated by climate change — warmer air holds more rain — and urban settings, where expansive pavement prevents water from seeping into the ground.

The National Hurricane Center had warned since Tuesday of the potential for “significant and life-threatening flash flooding” and major river flooding in the mid-Atlantic region and New England.

Still, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the storm’s strength took them by surprise.

“We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m. last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level of water to the streets of New York,” said Hochul, a Democrat who became governor last week after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned.

De Blasio, also a Democrat, said he’d gotten a forecast Wednesday of 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) of rain for the day. The city’s Central Park ended up getting 3.15 inches in just one hour, surpassing the previous one-hour high of 1.94 inches (5 cm) during Tropical Storm Henri on Aug. 21.

Wednesday’s storm ultimately dumped over 9 inches (23 cm) of rain in parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and nearly as much on New York City’s Staten Island.

In Washington, President Joe Biden assured Northeast residents that federal first responders were on the ground to help clean up.

In New York, nearly 500 vehicles were abandoned on flooded highways, garbage bobbed in streaming streets and water cascaded into the city’s subway tunnels, trapping at least 17 trains and disrupting service all day. Videos online showed riders standing on seats in swamped cars. All were safely evacuated, with police aiding 835 riders and scores of people elsewhere, including a 94-year-old man on a highway, Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said.

At one Queens development, neighbors unsuccessfully tried for an hour to save a 48-year-old woman after water broke through the glass patio door of her basement apartment, trapping her in 6 feet (2 meters) of water.

“She was screaming, ‘Help me, help me, help me!’ We all came to her aid, trying to get her out,” said the building’s assistant superintendent, Jayson Jordan, but “the thrust of the water was so strong.”

Residents said they have complained for years about flooding on another Queens street, where a woman and her 22-year-old son died in a basement apartment. Her husband and the couple’s other son were spared only because they stepped out to move a car, next-door neighbor Lisa Singh said.

“No one should have to go this way. I feel like this was 100% avoidable,” she said.

Police were still going door-to-door in flooded areas Thursday evening and didn’t have a firm number of unaccounted-for people, Harrison said.

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, rain and river flooding in an apartment complex killed four people and forced 600 from their homes, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage said.

Greg Turner, who lives elsewhere in the northern New Jersey city, said his 87-year-old mother started calling 911 when water began rising in her apartment at 8 p.m. He and his brother couldn’t get there because of the deluge.

As midnight approached, the water reached her neck, he said. Rescuers finally cut through the floor of the apartment above and pulled her to safety.

“She lost everything,” Turner said as he headed to a bank for money to buy his mother clothes and shoes.

In New Jersey’s Milford Borough, authorities said they found a man’s body in a car buried up to its hood in dirt and rocks.

The National Weather Service said the ferocious storm also spawned at least 10 tornadoes from Maryland to Massachusetts, including a 150-mph (241 kph) twister that splintered homes and toppled silos in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, south of Philadelphia.

“It just came through and ripped,” said resident Jeanine Zubrzycki, 33, who hid in her basement with her three children as their house shook and lights flickered.

“And then you could just hear people crying,” said Zubrzycki, 33, whose home was damaged but livable.

Record flooding along the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania inundated homes, highways and commercial buildings, even as meteorologists warned that rivers likely won’t crest for a few more days. The riverside community of Manayunk remained largely under water.

The Schuyilkill reached levels not seen in over 100 years in Philadelphia, where firefighters were still getting calls about minor building collapses and people stuck in flooded cars Thursday morning. The managers of a 941-unit apartment complex near the river ordered residents to evacuate, citing “deteriorating” conditions after water rushed into the parking garage and pool areas.

In suburban Bucks County, several firefighters had to be rescued after floodwaters pinned a rescue boat against a bridge pier, state emergency management director Randy Padfield said.

Others were unable to escape the floods, including Donald Bauer, who was driving home to Perkiomenville with his wife after attending their daughter’s volleyball game at DeSales University, near Allentown.

Their SUV stalled in the water and floated into a house, breaking the back window, said Darby Bauer, who was on the phone with his parents when the engine died. Donald Bauer helped his wife, Katherine, escape out the broken window and urged her to go, their son said.

She clung to a tree and watched the rising waters carry the SUV out of sight, he said. She was rescued about an hour later and hospitalized.

Donald Bauer, a 65-year-old retired school bus driver, “had one of the biggest hearts we knew,” his son said. “He was selfless down to his last act.”

Authorities used boats to rescue people in places from North Kingstown, Rhode Island, to Frederick County, Maryland, where 10 children and a driver were pulled from a school bus.

On Sunday, Ida struck Louisiana as the fifth-strongest storm to ever hit the U.S. mainland, leaving 1 million people without power, maybe for weeks.

___

Porter reported from Elizabeth, New Jersey. Contributing were AP reporters Karen Matthews and Michael R. Sisak in New York; Seth Borenstein and Darlene Superville in Washington; Mark Pratt in Waltham, Massachusetts; in New Jersey, Maryclaire Dale in Mullica Hill, Michael Catalini and Shawn Marsh in Trenton, and Wayne Parry in Point Pleasant; in Connecticut, Dave Collins in Hartford and Pat Eaton-Robb in Columbia; and in Pennsylvania, Claudia Lauer in Philadelphia, Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg and Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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