A relentless downpour unleashed devastating floods in New York’s Hudson Valley, claiming the life of at least one person, inundating roadways, and triggering closures on Sunday night. Meanwhile, other regions in the Northeastern United States braced themselves for an onslaught of extreme rainfall.
As the storm gradually advanced eastward, the National Weather Service extended flash flood warnings into Connecticut, encompassing cities such as Stamford and Greenwich, before gradually encroaching upon Massachusetts. Forecasters issued warnings of potential rainfall reaching up to 127mm (5 inches) in certain areas.
Tragedy struck in New York’s Hudson Valley as rescue teams embarked on a mission to recover the body of a woman in her 30s. She had tragically drowned after being swept away while attempting to evacuate her home amidst the flash flooding. Two other individuals managed to escape the perilous situation.
According to Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, the sheer force of the flash flooding dislodged boulders that crashed into the woman’s residence, causing damage to the structure. “Her house was completely surrounded by water,” Neuhaus shared. He further added, “She was trying to navigate through the flooding with her dog and was overwhelmed by waves reminiscent of a tidal wave.”
The full extent of the destruction inflicted by the slow-moving storm, which unleashed rainfall of up to 200mm (8 inches) in the area, will only become evident once residents and officials can assess the damage after daybreak. Initial estimates indicate tens of millions of dollars in damages.
Governor Kathy Hochul confirmed to WCBS radio that multiple individuals were reported missing, and one home had been completely washed away.
Although the intensity of the rainfall varied across different parts of New York, officials cautioned communities in the eastern region of the state to brace for torrential rains and potential flash flooding.
Authorities urged residents in the storm’s path to refrain from using roads due to the extraordinary volume of water and the ongoing peril. “The amount of water is extraordinary, and it’s still a very dangerous situation,” Governor Hochul emphasized. While she assured that they would overcome this ordeal, she acknowledged that it would be a challenging night.
In response to the severity of the situation, Governor Hochul declared a state of emergency on Sunday for Orange County, situated approximately 97km (60 miles) north of New York City. She subsequently extended the state of emergency to Ontario County in western New York, southeast of Rochester. State agencies are actively engaged in search and rescue efforts, with five swift water rescue teams and a high-axle vehicle deployed to assist in flooded areas.
Videos circulating on social media captured the extent of the flooding, depicting powerful torrents of brown-colored water dangerously close to homes, while roadways were washed away by rapidly flowing cascades.
West Point, home to the esteemed US Military Academy, experienced severe flooding, raising concerns about potential water damage to historic structures.
The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings across southeastern New York, characterizing the situation as “life-threatening,” and also issued warnings for northeastern New Jersey.
Looking ahead, the National Weather Service tweeted that a significant flood threat, accompanied by a high risk of excessive rainfall, is anticipated across much of New England on Monday. Vermont and northeastern New York are expected to experience particularly intense rainfall. Showers and thunderstorms were also forecasted for New York City on Sunday night, heightening the risk of flash flooding, as highlighted in a tweet from the National Weather Service of New York.
The city’s emergency notification system issued a tweet alerting residents to the heavy rain and cautioning about the potential for “life-threatening flooding to basements.” Residents were advised to prepare to move to higher ground if necessary.