Heavy rains caused severe flooding in New York’s Hudson Valley that killed at least one person, flooded roads and forced road closures Sunday night, as much of the rest of the Northeast US braced for severe raining.
As the storm moved east, the National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for Connecticut, including the cities of Stamford and Greenwich, before creeping into Massachusetts. Forecasters said some areas could get as much as 12.7cm (5 inches) of rain.
A person drowned in a flash flood
In New York’s Hudson Valley, rescue teams tried to retrieve the body of a 30-year-old woman who drowned after being swept away while trying to evacuate her home. Two other people escaped.
The force of the flash flood dislodged boulders, which crashed into the woman’s home and destroyed part of its wall, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus told The Associated Press. “His house was completely surrounded by water,” he said. “He was trying to get through [the flooding] with his dog,” he added, “and he was overwhelmed by tidal-wave type waves”.
The extent of the damage from the slow-moving storm, which pelted the area with up to 20cm (8 inches) of rain, will not be known until sunrise, when residents and officials can begin to damage survey. But officials said the storm had already caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.
6.96 inches of rain fell at West Point Military Academy in southern New York state in the past 3 hours. Based on rainfall frequency estimates from Atlas-14, this could easily be a 1000 year flood event for the location. Unbelievable. #NYwx pic.twitter.com/qpXsPp4d4P
— Richard Romkee (@RRomkee) July 9, 2023
New York Governor Kathy Hochul confirmed on WCBS radio that several people were missing and one house was washed away.
The rains hit some parts of New York harder than others, but officials said communities in the eastern part of the state should prepare for heavy rains and possible flooding
Officials urged residents in the line of the storm to stay off the roads.
“The amount of water is incredible, and it’s still a dangerous situation,” Hochul said. “We’ll get through this,” he said, but added, “it’s been a tough night”.
Several warnings have been issued in the northeast
The governor declared a state of emergency on Sunday for Orange County, about 97km (60 miles) north of New York City. He later extended the state of emergency in Ontario County in western New York, southeast of Rochester.
“We are in close communication with local officials, and state agencies are participating in search and rescue efforts,” he said.
The state has deployed five swift water rescue teams and a high-axle vehicle to assist in rescues in flooded areas.
Videos posted on social media showed the extent of the flooding, with streams of brown-colored rivers rushing past houses, and roads washed away by fast-moving water currents. .
West Point, home of the US Military Academy, also known as West Point, was severely flooded. Officials are concerned that some historic buildings may have water damage.
The National Weather Service has issued flash flood warnings for parts of southeastern New York, describing it as “life threatening”, as well as warnings for northeastern New Jersey.
Flash Flood Warning including Danbury CT, White Plains NY and Ossining NY until 1:00 AM EDT pic.twitter.com/No2aAar4FL
— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) July 10, 2023
By Monday, “a major flood threat with a high risk of excessive rainfall is expected across much of New England”, the NWS said in a tweet. Heavy rain will be especially heavy in Vermont and northeastern New York.
Showers and thunderstorms are also expected in New York City Sunday night and could lead to flooding, the National Weather Service in New York tweeted.
The city’s emergency notification system tweeted that heavy rain could cause “life-threatening flooding in basements” and instructed residents to “prepare now to move to higher ground if necessary”.