The US city of New York received one of the heaviest rainfall on Friday in decades, causing a state of emergency to be announced. The extensive rains caused subway and commuter rail lines to be suspended and people to be stranded on highways.
According to the US National Weather Service, the John F Kennedy Airport received 8.65 inches (21.97 cm) of rain, surpassing the record levels set by Hurricane Donna in 1960. Over 7.25 inches (18.41 cm) of rain had fallen in different parts of Brooklyn by nightfall, weather officials said.
"I am declaring a State of Emergency across New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley due to the extreme rainfall we’re seeing throughout the region. Please take steps to stay safe and remember to never attempt to travel on flooded roads," New York Governor Kathy Hochul wrote on 'X'.
The deluge came less than three months after a storm caused deadly floods in New York’s Hudson Valley and left Vermont’s capital, Montpelier, submerged. A little over two years ago, the remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped record-breaking rain on the Northeast and killed at least 13 people in New York City, most of whom were in flooded basement apartments. Overall, 50 people died from Virginia to Connecticut.
Elsewhere, photos and videos posted on social media showed water pouring into subway stations and basements.
Key services affected
There have been no reports of any casualties and injuries from Friday's downpours, aside from stirring up frightening memories. More such downpours are expected in New York.
City officials said that the basements of at least six apartments were flooded, but all occupants managed to escape safely. Many people returning from schools and offices were stuck on their way home. School buses transported very few public school students, most of them disabled.
At the Long Island Rail Road, 44 of the city's 3,500 buses were stranded and bus services were disrupted across New York, according to transit officials. Traffic was also affected at FDR Drive, a major artery along Manhattan's east side and many people were forced to abandon their vehicles as water levels rose.
Almost every subway line was at least partly suspended, rerouted or running with delays. Metro-North commuter rail service from Manhattan was suspended for much of the day but began resuming by evening.
Additionally, flights were briefly halted and then delayed at LaGuardia due to water in the refueling area. One of the airport's terminals was shut for several hours.
Hoboken, New Jersey, and other cities also experienced floods. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has called for state offices to close at 3 pm, except for essential personnel. Dominic Ramunni, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in New York, said by phone that Friday’s rains were due to a coastal storm, with low pressure off the East Coast helping to bring in some deep moisture from the Atlantic Ocean.
(with AP inputs)