New York City Bounces Back After Severe Flooding

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Following a deluge of record-breaking rainfall that paralyzed New York City and its surrounding areas, residents were getting back to their daily routines the morning after. Although rain showers persisted on Saturday, posing a continued flood risk in some areas, they were expected to gradually subside by the evening.

On Saturday, the National Weather Service lifted the flood watch for the New York City metropolitan area, indicating that the immediate threat of flooding had receded. However, a flood watch remained in effect until Sunday afternoon for the region around New Haven, Connecticut.

In a press conference on Saturday morning, Governor Kathy Hochul expressed gratitude to New Yorkers for heeding official warnings. Thankfully, there were no storm-related fatalities reported. Emergency teams conducted 28 rescues from “raging waters” in the Hudson Valley and Long Island.

Governor Hochul underscored the seriousness of the event and emphasized that such severe storms were becoming increasingly common, attributing this trend to climate change.

By 9:30 p.m. on Friday, rainfall totals had surpassed nine inches in parts of Nassau County on Long Island, while the area near Kennedy International Airport recorded 8.6 inches, marking a new single-day record, according to the National Weather Service.

Friday’s torrential rain led to the suspension of half of the city’s subway lines and disrupted Metro-North Railroad service to and from Grand Central Terminal. The Long Island Rail Road was also significantly impacted. Flights at the city’s airports experienced delays and cancellations, with one La Guardia terminal being evacuated due to rising floodwaters.

Governor Hochul and Janno Lieber, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief, emphasized the urgent need to enhance city infrastructure to cope with the growing frequency and intensity of storms.

They discussed the fact that the current system was designed to handle rainfall at a rate of 1.75 inches per hour, while actual rainfall consistently exceeded this threshold. Therefore, additional drainage capacity was required to manage these heavy rain events, Mr. Lieber explained during the press conference.

Subway services were restored on Saturday morning, although certain Metro-North branches still experienced delays related to the weather, as reported by the M.T.A. The Long Island Rail Road and airports returned to normal operations.

Roadways that had been closed during the storm, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and the Belt Parkway, were reopened by Saturday morning.

The City’s Office of Emergency Management reported that it was still assessing the extent of flood damage and actively coordinating recovery efforts. These efforts included debris removal, clearing fallen trees, and gathering damage reports from residents.

One city-run hospital, Woodhull Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, was still grappling with the aftermath of storm-related damage. The hospital operated on emergency generators for hours following a local power outage on Friday. Consequently, on Saturday, all patients and staff members were evacuated to allow the power company to conduct necessary repairs.

The swim portion of the New York City Triathlon, scheduled for Sunday, was canceled due to “water quality concerns in the Hudson River” stemming from the heavy rainfall. The event’s website announced that the swim would be replaced by a second running leg.

The amount of rainfall received in New York City and its surrounding regions during this event was comparable to that of Hurricane Ida in 2021, which tragically claimed the lives of at least 46 people in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, according to Governor Hochul. She noted that the absence of hurricane-level winds this time was a fortunate turn of events.

Meteorologist John Murray from the Weather Service mentioned that while rain showers would continue in the region until Saturday evening, they would not reach the same intensity observed on the previous day.

In neighborhoods like Gowanus in Brooklyn, which has experienced increasingly frequent flash floods, residents are bracing themselves for future storms. They take proactive measures such as reinforcing doors with boards and duct tape throughout the year. When heavy rain is forecasted, neighbors coordinate to clear drains and prepare materials to mitigate the inevitable water intrusion into their homes.

This recent event underscored the intensifying impact of storms in areas previously unaccustomed to such weather patterns. Residents like Julian Chavez and Joann Amitrano in Gowanus have become more vigilant as storms have grown in intensity in recent years. Ms. Amitrano, a longtime resident, noted the unexpected nature of such extreme weather in Brooklyn, stating, “You don’t expect this in Brooklyn.”

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