Ida triggers massive flooding across Northeast

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Joshua Berlinger, Amy Woodyatt, Aditi Sangal, Adam Renton and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 AM ET, Fri September 3, 2021
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8:05 a.m. ET, September 2, 2021

New York City was hit by rainfall worth 50,000 Olympic-size pools over 5 hours

People navigate heavy rains and flooded walkways at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, on September 1.
People navigate heavy rains and flooded walkways at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, on September 1. Justin Lane/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

More than seven inches of rainfall came down across the five boroughs of New York City in a five-hour period, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused fatal flooding across the northeastern United States.

When you average out the city's area, it equates to 35 billion gallons of water falling out of the sky in that period. That is about 50,000 Olympic-sized pools essentially being released over the city, according to CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

This amount of rainfall is overwhelming for any part of the world, but put it in an urban environment, and it becomes that much more problematic, he added.

Newark, too, experienced its wettest single day on record, with almost 8.5 inches of rainfall on Wednesday.

Watch the report:

8:05 a.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Rainfall from Ida also impacted play at the US Open

Rain falls into Louis Armstrong Stadium from the openings along the sides during a US Open tennis match between Diego Schwartzman and Kevin Anderson in Queens, New York, on September 1.
Rain falls into Louis Armstrong Stadium from the openings along the sides during a US Open tennis match between Diego Schwartzman and Kevin Anderson in Queens, New York, on September 1. Danielle Parhizkaran/USA Today Sports/Sipa

The unprecedented amount of rainfall across New York City has also affected play at the ongoing US Open.

"Two of the stadiums at Flushing Meadows have a retractable roof -- Louis Armstrong and Arthur Ashe. But they are not completely enclosed, they have openings on the sides at the top," CNN's Andy Scholes explained, adding that the huge amounts of rain meant water got on the court at the Louis Armstrong stadium.

"Fans were putting on ponchos, opened up umbrellas," Scholes added. "[Authorities] had blowers brought out multiple times on to the court to try to dry it out."

The match between Argentina's Diego Schwartzman and South Africa's Kevin Anderson was halted and eventually moved to the Arthur Ashe Stadium, which was in a "better shape," Scholes reported.

Fans also had a tough time leaving Flushing Meadows. The subway train that many fans use to get to the site was out of service for much of the storm before coming back online earlier this morning in a limited capacity. 

American Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn was in the crowd and tweeted about the weather conditions.

6:19 a.m. ET, September 2, 2021

After the devastation of Ida, here's how to get help and stay safe in the weeks ahead

From CNN's Holly Yan

The victims of Hurricane Ida who are returning to damaged homes face a torrent of challenges -- if they're lucky enough to have a home standing at all.

The onslaught of stress, grief and logistical nightmares can seem overwhelming. But experts say these tips can help victims stay safe, get help, protect their emotional health and take the first steps toward recovery:

  • Don't go home until it's truly safe
  • Use extreme caution when you get home
  • Minimize the risk of electrocution
  • Photograph the damage and seek help if needed
  • Clean safely and beware of mold
  • Don't succumb to deadly heat
  • Use generators safely and avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Make sure your food and water supplies are safe
  • Take care of your emotional health

Read the full advice here.

6:05 a.m. ET, September 2, 2021

2-year-old child among storm-related deaths in New York City

From CNN's Alta Spells

A 2-year-old toddler is one of at least seven people killed after heavy rainfall in New York City, according to police.

The victims include a 48-year-old woman, who was found by New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers in her home in the Grand Central Parkway area of Queens, after she called 911 because of flooding conditions. The woman was taken to Forest Hills Hospital by EMS where she was pronounced dead.

Two additional victims in Queens were found by officers Wednesday night around 183rd Street, NYPD said. A 45-year-old woman was taken to Queens General Hospital by EMS where she was pronounced dead. A 22-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and the 2-year-old male child were all pronounced dead at the scene of their 64th Street residence after NYPD officers responding to a 911 call of flooding arrived to find them unconscious and unresponsive.

In Brooklyn, police officers found a 66-year-old man in his home on Ridgewood Avenue, Wednesday night when they were responding to a 911 call reporting flooding. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

All of the victims were located between 10 p.m. ET and midnight on Wednesday night, the NYPD said.

In Passaic, New Jersey, Mayor Hector Lora told CNN's Don Lemon that the body of an elderly man in his 70s was retrieved from flood waters after the vehicle he was riding in was overtaken by water and firefighters were swept under the vehicle making it nearly "impossible" for them to reach him.

8:05 a.m. ET, September 2, 2021

It's 6 a.m. in New York. Here's what you should know about the flood conditions in the city

Vehicles are in floodwaters on an expressway in Brooklyn, New York, on September 2.
Vehicles are in floodwaters on an expressway in Brooklyn, New York, on September 2. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

The remnants of Hurricane Ida have caused dangerous flash floods and tornadoes across the northeastern United States, including across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

States of emergency have been declared in New York and New Jersey due to the storms. These are the rarest of weather alerts, and only reserved for when you have life-threatening flooding and water rescues, and catastrophic flooding taking place.

It has never been issued for New York City before, according to CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

Here's what you should know:

At least eight people have been killed in storm-related deaths. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) reported seven fatalities in the city and the Mayor Hector Lora reported at least one death due to flooding in Passaic, New Jersey.

There has been an unprecedented amount of rainfall by any metric, Javaheri said. The storm prediction center had warned of a level 4 rainfall -- the highest risk for excessive rainfall.

Portions of Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts will soon see the last bit of thunderstorm activity, as Ida pushes away from the US over the next several hours, Javaheri added.

More than 300 flights were canceled out of Newark International Liberty airport as Newark sees its wettest day in recorded history, Javaheri reported.

5:26 a.m. ET, September 2, 2021

At least 8 killed in New York City and New Jersey

From CNN's Alta Spells

Flooding is seen in Brooklyn, New York, on Wednesday, September 1.
Flooding is seen in Brooklyn, New York, on Wednesday, September 1. (Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock)

At least eight people have been killed in storm-related deaths in New York and New Jersey according to reports from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the Mayor Hector Lora of Passaic, New Jersey.

The NYPD is reporting seven fatalities in New York City and Lora reported at least one death due to flooding in Passaic.

8:06 a.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Short fuel supplies in Louisiana are a critical problem for Ida recovery effort, says governor

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Fuel is in short supply in Louisiana, where many residents are relying on gas-powered generators in the wake of Hurricane Ida's destruction, and the shortage is slowing the long and complicated recovery efforts, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

More than 960,000 customers are still without power in the state, according to PowerOutages.US. And those in the hardest-hit areas could experience outages for weeks, the regional electric utility Entergy has warned.

As of Tuesday, as many as eight refineries were down, with one or two coming back up Wednesday, Edwards said, and the state is working with federal partners and with the business community to identify ways fuel can be brought into the state.

Fuel problem hampering recovery: When Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast on Sunday, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it was a Category 4 hurricane. It has since downgraded to a tropical depression and moved north, where its remnants caused heavy flooding Wednesday.

There have been at least five confirmed deaths tied to the hurricane.

As officials sift through the wreckage to assess damage, rescue residents and store infrastructure, the fuel problem is "impacting all of our recovery efforts," Edwards said.

3:39 a.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Ida brought historic amounts of rain to New York and New Jersey

People make their way in rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 1, in the Bronx, New York City. 
People make their way in rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 1, in the Bronx, New York City.  (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

The remnants of Ida brought record levels of rain to the mid-Atlantic and northeast United States. Here are some of the records that fell:

  • New York City issued its first-ever flash flood emergency.
  • Central Park itself saw several records:
  • The park recorded its wettest hour on record, with 3.15 inches (80 millimeters) from 8:51 to 9:51 p.m. ET. The previous wettest hour was recorded just two weeks ago during the "We Love NYC" concert.
  • The rainfall in Central Park was a 1-in-500 year rainfall event, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rainfall frequency data, with 5.2 inches (132 millimeters) falling in only three hours.
  • The park recorded 6.95 inches (176 millimeters) of rain on Wednesday, making it one of the five wettest days in its recorded history. Weather records have been kept in Central Park since 1869.
  • Newark, New Jersey experienced its wettest day in recorded history on Wednesday. The city saw 8.32 inches (211 millimeters) of rain, shattering the old record, set in 1977, of 6.73 inches (171 millimeters).
  • In fact, Newark nearly reached its single-day record in just one three-hour period that saw 6.42 inches (163) pour down. To put that in context, NOAA considers 5.88 inches in that area in three hours a 1-in-1,000-year rainfall event.
  • Flash Flood Emergencies, which are very rarely issued by the National Weather Service to indicate the imminent threat of catastrophic floods, stretched for 190 miles (306 kilometers) from west of Philadelphia through New York City.
3:31 a.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Weather leads to delays and cancellations on Amtrak

From CNN's Alta Spells

Heavy rains in some areas of the northeastern United States has lead to delays and cancellations for Amtrak, a spokeswoman for the passenger rail service said.

"Due to weather issues along the Northeast Corridor, we do have a few trains that are significantly delayed or were canceled overnight. We continue to closely monitor and as of now, have not made any service adjustments for morning service," said the spokesperson, Christina Leeds.

Earlier in the morning, the Amtrak Northeast Twitter account also posted about lengthy delays of trains between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Haven, Connecticut, because of the severe weather conditions.