NEW YORK: Torrential downpour after a week of mostly steady rainfall brought flash flooding to New York City, disrupting subway service, inundating ground-level apartments and turning some streets into small lakes.
Nearly 8 inches (20 cm) of rain drenched parts of New York City, allowing a sea lion at Central Park Zoo to briefly escape its enclosure. New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency due to the “life-threatening” floods, mobilising National Guard troops. In Mamaroneck, inflatable rafts were used to rescue flood-trapped residents.
Such heavy rainfall events have become more frequent, attributed to global warming and extreme weather patterns. September marked one of the wettest on record, with 13.74 inches (34.9 cm) of rain and more anticipated.
It was the rainiest day at the city’s John F. Kennedy International Airport since records began in 1948, the New York office of the National Weather Service said, citing preliminary data. The deluge caused flight delays.
Despite warnings, New York City’s public schools remained open. Some buildings experienced flooding. Hoboken’s automatic floodgates were activated, blocking numerous streets. The heavy rainfall followed last weekend’s effects of Tropical Storm Ophelia, which soaked the city and caused power outages in multiple states. Intermittent rain throughout the week saturated the ground, creating conditions conducive to flash flooding.
Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2023