A record-breaking downpour Friday overloaded New York City‘s drainage system, sending a wave of floodwater coursing through the city’s streets and into homes, businesses, schools, subways, and vehicles.
Some passengers were caught off guard as the water rose quickly and furiously as they slogged through Friday morning rush hour. First responders acted quickly where it was necessary, saving individuals from stuck cars and overflowing basements.
John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York experienced approximately 8 inches of rain in a single day, the most since 1948. Brooklyn was drenched by some of the storm’s most severe rainfall rates Friday morning, and it received the equivalent of a month’s worth of rain in just three hours.
According to scientists, the high totals are a sign of climate change because a warmer atmosphere acts like a giant sponge, able to soak up more water vapor and then wring it out in powerful spurts that may easily overwhelm antiquated flood defenses.
“Overall, as we know, this changing weather pattern is the result of climate change,” Rohit Aggarwala, New York City’s Chief Climate Officer said in a Friday morning news conference. “And the sad reality is our climate is changing faster than our infrastructure can respond.”
By late Friday afternoon, New York City had received 3 to 6 inches of rain on average. More rain was expected to continue throughout the evening before progressively ceasing.
As the worst of the flooding hit on Friday morning, New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued an emergency declaration for New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley. She urged folks to stay at home due of the pervasive risky traffic conditions in an interview with New York’s WNBC-TV.
“This is a very challenging weather event,” Hochul said. “This a life-threatening event. And I need all New Yorkers to heed that warning so we can keep them safe.” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency for his state Friday afternoon.
According to the New York City Fire Department, firefighters carried out rescues at six basements in New York City that were inundated with water.
According to New York City school chancellor David Banks, the water also got inside 150 of the city’s 1,400 schools, which were open on Friday.
According to him, a Brooklyn school had to be evacuated after floodwater caused the boiler to start smoking.
“Our kids are safe and we continue to monitor the situation,” Banks said.
There were “major disruptions,” including the suspension of service on 10 train lines in Brooklyn and all three Metro-North train lines, as a result of floodwater overflowing into the subway system and onto the railroads. Gov. Hochul stated that more buses were being sent out by the city to help bridge the gap left by the rail delays.