Monday, December 4, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Flooding in NYC, Hudson Valley triggers state of emergency

The storm has closed roads, disrupted subway service and delayed flights.

BROOKLYN (CN) — New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a state of emergency Friday morning as torrential rain caused severe flooding in New York City, Hudson Valley and Long Island.

“Ahead of this storm we deployed thousands of state personnel and I have directed all state agencies to provide all necessary resources to address this extreme weather event,” Hochul said in a statement. “It is critical that all New Yorkers take all necessary precautions and avoid flooded roads, which are some of the most dangerous places during flash floods.”

The storm has closed roads, disrupted subway service and delayed flights.

La Guardia Airport shuttered its Terminal A because of flooding at a fuel field, Hochul said, and flights that were still going in and out of the airports were delayed.

Heavy rainfall was centered on Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan before shifting north into the Hudson Valley.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued his own emergency warning in a Friday morning news conference.

“This is a dangerous weather condition, and it is not over, and I don’t want those gaps in heavy rain to give the appearance that it is over, it is not,” Adams said. “We could possibly see 8 inches of rain before the day is over. “

Flooding on 4th Avenue and Carroll Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn. (X, formerly Twitter)

Hochul also recalled Hurricane Ida, which hit New York City in 2021 and resulted in deaths of people living in basement homes. She warned New Yorkers not to drive under the weather conditions, but added, “Leave your home if you’re starting to see water accumulate.”

“If people decide to venture out in a vehicle, they do so at their own peril. Because even six inches of rain, one foot of rain — it may look pretty innocuous, it’s safe, but that is a condition where your vehicle can be swept away,” Hochul said. “And we lose more lives of people during flooding events, of which we’ve had many, especially this summer in the city and the Hudson Valley in particular.”

Friday is the “wettest day” New York City has had since Hurricane Ida, according to Zachary Iscol, the city's emergency management commissioner.

“That’s not a statistic to take lightly,” Iscol said. "It highlights just how crucial it is for all of us to pay close attention to the weather advisories and to always take the necessary precautions."

Iscol estimated between 2 and 4 more inches of rain hitting the city Friday afternoon.

The New York City Management Department issued a travel advisory for all day Friday and for Saturday morning.

“All New Yorkers need to exercise caution," Iscol said in a statement. “If you must travel, consider using public transportation and allow for extra travel time, and if you must drive, do not enter flooded roadways. If you live in a basement apartment, especially in a flood prone area, be prepared to move to higher ground.”

A number of subway lines were fully suspended on Friday. Other lines, especially in Brooklyn, cut service at flooded stations.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Janno Lieber said crews were pumping water from the track to restore reliable service on subways and the Metro-North Railroad.

The New York City bus system, Lieber said, is fully operational.

MTA officials said the city’s bus system was fully operational despite severe flooding. (X, formerly Twitter)

Flooding has also reached New Jersey, where Governor Phil Murphy warned residents to be careful.

“I have directed my team to prepare for the storm and coordinate in advance with county and local officials,” Murphy said in a statement.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla issued a state of emergency as a result of the flooding and urged people to stay home if possible.

Follow @NikaSchoonover
Categories / Government, Weather

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.