New York hit by 'life threatening storm' as streets flood and drivers abandon cars in window-height water

29 September 2023, 18:47

New York's streets have flooded as heavy rain rolled in
New York's streets have flooded as heavy rain rolled in. Picture: Getty/Social media

By Will Taylor

New York City has declared a state of emergency as a "life threatening storm" rolled in, leaving streets flooded.

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The state governor warned the situation is dangerous after up to five inches of rain fell overnight, with seven more inches expected throughout Friday.

Traffic came to a halt with drivers forced to get out of their cars as water rose above their tyres.

Vehicles were left abandoned after a major route, FDR Drive, was left resembling a river.

One motorist, Priscilla Fontallio, said she had been stranded for three hours as traffic stopped due to the conditions.

"Never seen anything like this in my life," she said.

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Subway stations and basements were engulfed in water as the city's transport organisation told residents to try and stay at home and the underground was mostly brought to a stop.

LaGuardia airport's refuelling area was hit by water, forcing a brief pause in services, but later resumed - although three of its terminals suffered from flooding.

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The storm hit during the morning rush hour.

State governor Kathy Hochul said: "This is a dangerous, life-threatening storm. Count on this for the next 20 hours."

She had already warned: "We anticipate, we warn, we prepare. But then when it hits and you have 5in in the last 12 hours - 3in in the last hour this morning - that's a scale that we're not accustomed to dealing with."

Climate change, which is exacerbating storms because the atmosphere is hotter, means New Yorkers will need to "get used to this".

Footage showed streets where waters had risen as high as the car bonnet, while stranded residents looked on from the pavement.

Drivers nervously lined their cars up at an intersection in one video, weighing up where they could pass through a flooded area where all markers and visual aids on the road had disappeared.

Another video showed water streaming into the subway from the ceiling as disgruntled commuters went about their travels.

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