Ida Live Updates: Biden Says Storm Shows Climate Crisis Real

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says extreme storms like Ida are a reminder that the climate crisis is real and the nation needs to be better prepared.

Biden sought to assure residents in the Northeast on Thursday that federal first responders are on the ground to help clean up after Ida’s record rainfall and flooding.

The president spoke to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and planned to also speak with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

He says he made clear to the governors that the Federal Emergency Management Agency “is on the ground.”

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell was the chief federal response officer after Superstorm Sandy walloped the region in 2012. Biden said she knows what to do.

Ida prompted the National Weather Service to issue a first-ever flood emergency for New York City and parts of Long Island.

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MORE ON STORM IDA:

— More than a dozen deaths and counting after Ida remnants slam Northeast

— Four days after Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana, many are still without water, power

— Biden to survey Ida’s storm damage in Louisiana on Friday

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The remnants of Ida dumped more than 9 inches of rain in parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with New York’s Staten Island coming just shy with 8.9 inches of rain.

Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee all got well over 4 inches, with some of those places seeing more than half a foot of rain.

In New York City, Brooklyn recorded 7.76 inches of rain, midtown Manhattan, 7.49 inches, the Bronx 7.38 inches and Central Park 7.19 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service began warning early Monday about 3 to 6 inches of rain and “considerable flash flooding” from the mid-Atlantic to southern New England from Ida’s remnants.

By Tuesday afternoon meteorologists were warning of “high risk” of excessive rainfall, raising the total expected to 3 to 8 inches of rain.

The weather service warned of “significant and life-threatening flash flooding” in the region especially in cities, starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and repeated the warning through Wednesday afternoon.

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NEW YORK — State and city officials are calling Wednesday’s downpour unprecedented and unforeseen. At least nine people died in New York City, many of whom were trapped in flooded basements.

“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,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a briefing in Queens.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said weather projections failed to predict such a cataclysmic downpour. “We’re getting from the very best experts projections that then are made a mockery of in a matter of minutes,” he said.

Hochul said she has spoken with President Joe Biden, who promised federal assistance.

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HURLEY, Va. — Search crews have found the body of a person unaccounted for in western Virginia after flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the death late Wednesday as a result of flooding in the Guesses Fork area of Hurley.

Sheriff’s office Administrative Assistant Sharon Thornsbury said authorities had been looking for the person since Monday and everyone has now been accounted for.

Earlier this week, officials said about 20 homes were moved from their foundations and several trailers washed away by the storm. Crews started clearing debris Wednesday.

Officials estimate it will take at least 30 days to restore power in the area and one year for public water to be restored.

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PHILADELPHIA — Record flooding along the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania inundated homes and commercial buildings, swamped highways, submerged cars and disrupted rail service in the Philadelphia area.

Valerie Arkoosh, chairperson of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, said three people died in suburban Montgomery County and a tree fell into a woman’s house in Upper Dublin, killing her. Two other people drowned, one in a home and the other in a car.

In a tweet, city officials predicted “historic flooding” on Thursday as river levels continue to rise. The riverside community of Manayunk remained largely under water.

Emergency workers in the county completed more than 450 water rescues. That is three times the previous record. Rescue efforts were continuing throughout the morning.

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TRENTON, N.J. — Four people have died in Elizabeth, N.J., overnight as a result of the storm.

Elizabeth spokesperson Kelly Martins says the victims include a 72-year-old woman and her 71-year-old husband along with their 38-year-old son. A 33-year-old woman who was their neighbor also perished. The names of the victims were not released.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday morning toured tornado damage in Mullica Hill in the southern New Jersey Philadelphia suburbs.

Murphy said there were no fatalities from the tornado that left lumber scattered like toothpicks, tore roofs off and collapsed walls. He said there were other deaths in the state but didn’t give details. He said he will speak soon with President Joe Biden and is hopeful to get a major disaster declaration.

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WOODBURY, Conn. — An on-duty Connecticut state trooper and his cruiser were swept away in flood waters Thursday morning in the town of Woodbury, just west of Waterbury.

State police and local authorities said the trooper was flown by helicopter to Yale New Haven Hospital. No information on his condition was immediately available and he was not identified.

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ELIZABETH, N.J. — Rescue crews are using drones to fly over the swollen banks of a river in Elizabeth near where four people died when the ground-floor units of their apartment complex flooded overnight.

Mayor J. Christian Bollwage told The Associated Press that the fire department rescued hundreds of people from the complex and the surrounding area. The department’s local offices next to the Oakwood Plaza apartment complex were also inundated with four feet of flood waters.

“We had to drill down from the second floor of some apartments to get to people in units below to rescue them,” Bollwage said. “We rescued hundreds of people from cars or the tops of their cars.”

The Elizabeth River surged during heavy rains overnight, causing catastrophic flooding. The river is usually not larger than a trickle.

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Step 2. 2021 - 12:56 PM ET

AP

 
 

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