Rescue teams raced to Vermont on Monday after heavy rain across the Northeast washed out roads and forced evacuations. One woman was killed in New York and several others had to be rescued from sinking cars.
Floods flooded the state’s lush landscape and small towns after Vermont Governor Philip Scott declared a state of emergency on Sunday. He told a press conference that “this could just be the start of what we’re going to see as the rain continues and gets worse in the next few hours”.
Mike Cannon of Vermont Urban Search and Rescue said crews from North Carolina, Michigan and Connecticut were among those helping to get to towns that were inaccessible since torrential rains lashed the state overnight.
Mr Cannon said the hardest hit areas were along the mountainous Green Mountains region of the state’s southern and central counties. The towns of Londonderry and Weston were inaccessible, and rescuers were heading there to carry out welfare checks. A state park in Plymouth was evacuated, and water levels at several dams were monitored.
On Sunday, video footage showed flooding flooding residential streets after a large storm system moved across the Hudson Valley on a slow eastward track.
More heavy rain is expected in the US Northeast on Monday with flash flood warnings for parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Some areas could receive up to five inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The body of a 30-year-old woman was found in the Hudson Valley by rescue teams. He drowned after being swept away by floodwaters while trying to evacuate his home, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus told WABC-TV.
“His house was completely surrounded by water,” Mr Neuhaus said. “He tried to get through (the flooding) with his dog,” he added, “and he was overwhelmed by the tidal-waves.”
Many roads were flooded and several bridges collapsed, according to law enforcement agencies, with early estimates in the millions of dollars in damage.
“Our town is completely cut off from the rest of the world right now because of mudslides, sinkholes, washed out roads, flooding, broken brick walls and more,” said Fort Montgomery resident Kristen Dyroff O’Dell NBC News.
“I was separated from my children today in Monroe at a friend’s house after spending five hours trying several ways to get to Fort Montgomery. Every route was impassable.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Sunday for Orange County, about an hour north of New York City, where “life-threatening flooding” developed within hours.
“The amount of water is incredible and it’s still a dangerous situation,” Ms Hochul said.
“My biggest concern is the fact that the majority of people’s lives that are lost during the floods happen because they are in their cars – not in their houses, but in their cars. And I want people to be very careful about not going to a road that is closed or if you see any flowing water,” he said.
The area around West Point in the Hudson Valley received more than 7.5 inches of rain in six hours on Sunday, according to preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
A flood watch was in effect until 6 a.m. Monday in New York City with officials stressing the dangers to those in low-lying areas with poor drainage systems and near rivers and streams.
City officials urged residents to consider moving to higher floors to protect themselves because heavy rains “could cause rapid, life-threatening flooding in basements”.
Identifying the role of the climate crisis in individual flood events requires significant scientific analysis. However, as the planet warms, more moisture is held in the atmosphere, which means storms bring the possibility of more rain.