By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Remnants of one of America’s most powerful storms lashed out at its East Coast with record-breaking rain, drowning scores of people in homes and cars.
As the drama unfolded, U.S. President Joe Biden was quick to blame climate change for the disaster, which also came after he was pressured to deal with the aftermath of his hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Emergencies were declared in the U.S. States of New York and New Jersey after the worst flooding in recent memory killed 50 people, including a two-year-old boy.
New York City suffered its wettest hour on record as Storm Ida sparked flash floods.
More than 80 millimeters of rain fell in Central Park in the space of 60 minutes. That eclipsed the previous record of 49 millimeters set in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Henri just last month, according to officials.
The situation was also worsening in neighboring New Jersey and the area from Maryland to Connecticut. Much of the East Coast had been warned about potentially deadly flash flooding, but residents hadn’t braced for such a blow from the no-longer hurricane.
RISING DEATH TOLL
At least 23 people died in New Jersey, Democratic Governor Phil Murphy said. Elsewhere at least 13 people were killed in New York City, police added. Eleven of them drowned in flooded basement apartments, which often serve as relatively affordable homes in one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets.
Suburban Westchester County reported three deaths.
Officials said at least five people died in Pennsylvania, including one killed by a falling tree and another who drowned in his car after helping his wife to escape. And a Connecticut state police sergeant, Brian Mohl, perished after his cruiser was swept away. Another death was reported in Maryland, The Associated Press (AP) news agency reported.
Amid the rising death toll, President Biden tried to warn the nation about climate change which he believes justifies multi-billion dollar environmental policies. “The past few days of Hurricane Ida and the wildfires in the west and the unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey is yet another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here,” he said Thursday.
“We must better prepare. We need to act.
“It’s a matter of life and death, and we’re all in it together,” Biden added.
Back in New York, Sophy Liu said she tried using towels and garbage bags to stop the water from coming into her first-floor New York City apartment. But the flood rose to her chest in just a half-hour.
CALMING HER SON
She roused her son from bed, put him in a life jacket and inflatable swimming ring, and tried to flee, but the door stuck. She called two friends who helped her jar it loose.
“I was obviously scared, but I had to be strong for my son. I had to calm him down,” she told reporters as medical examiners removed three bodies from a home down her Queens street.
She wasn’t alone, as help often came too late in many cases across several flooded states.
Amid the misery, however, authorities managed to use boats to rescue people from North Kingstown, Rhode Island, to Frederick County, Maryland, where 10 children and a driver were pulled from a school bus.
The troubles began Sunday when Ida struck Louisiana as the fifth-strongest storm ever to hit the U.S. mainland.
It has left 1 million people without power, maybe for weeks, and with memories, many will not forget.
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