NEW YORK — The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped historic rain over the tri-state area, with more than a dozen deaths linked to flooding in New York and New Jersey.
Police in New York City reported eight deaths, as basement apartments suddenly filled with water and freeways and boulevards turned into rivers.
Gov. Kathy Hochul addressed the devastation on Thursday. She said people have been calling it a once in 500 year event, but she wasn’t going to treat it as if it would be 500 years before the next big storm.
“This was the first time we’ve had a flash flood event of this proportion in the city of New York,” she said. “We haven’t experienced this before, but we should expect it the next time.”
Hochul said the first step was to assess the loss of life.
“We deal with the immediate crisis,” she said. “It’s not quite over but we’re getting there.
The next step for Hochul is asking questions: did New York prepare enough? Should subways have been shut down earlier? What could have been done differently?
“We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m. last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level of water to the streets of New York,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a briefing in Queens. “Could that have been anticipated? I want to find out.”
Hochul called the crisis an opportunity to learn and prepare for the next one.
In the long term, she called for investments in infrastructure and confronting drainage issues.
President Joe Biden offered any assistance New York needs after Ida, according to Hochul. He guaranteed he would approve any emergency declaration, ensuring federal money starts flowing to the state, the cities, homeowners and renters, as well as small businesses affected by the storm.