Torrential downpours caused flash flooding in New York City on Friday, resulting in disruptions to transportation, flooding of ground-level apartments, and the transformation of streets into lakes. The heavy rain, totaling almost eight inches in some areas, prompted New York Governor Kathy Hochul to declare a state of emergency for the city, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley. Emergency officials in Mamaroneck, a suburb north of the city, used inflatable rafts to rescue people trapped in flooded buildings. The subway system and commuter rail services were severely affected, with subway lines suspended and many stations closed. The intense rainfalls seen in recent years are attributed to global warming and the increasing occurrence of extreme weather patterns worldwide.
The rainfall in New York capped off one of the wettest Septembers on record for the city, with 13.74 inches falling during the month. Although there were warnings of “life-threatening” floods, the city’s public schools remained open, with some districts dismissing students early due to worsening flooding. Residents expressed frustration over the lack of warnings and inadequate drainage systems, with some comparing it to previous instances of neglect from city officials. New York City Mayor Eric Adams defended his administration’s response, stating that necessary precautions were taken.
In neighboring New Jersey, the city of Hoboken declared a state of emergency as most southern routes into town were underwater. Floodgates, newly installed in Hoboken, failed to close automatically, blocking many streets to traffic. The heavy downpours in New York followed last weekend’s remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia, which caused widespread power outages and flooding in various states. This recent flooding event highlights the increasing frequency of intense rainfalls due to climate change, and the need for better infrastructure and emergency responses in affected areas.