- At least 17 people were killed in New York and New Jersey alone because of flooding.
- Countless water rescues were needed across the Northeast.
- Homes were ripped apart by tornadoes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
A night of dual disasters fueled by the remnants of Hurricane Ida crippled the Northeast and killed at least 17 people in New York City and New Jersey alone. Another four people were killed in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Historic and destructive rainfall and flooding hit New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, and tornadoes tore across the Philadelphia suburbs.
Flooding in New York and New Jersey killed at least 17 people. Three deaths have been reported in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Another person was killed earlier Wednesday in Maryland when floodwaters filled the bottom floor of an apartment building.
The rain and flooding was so intense that it quickly overwhelmed major infrastructure. Thoroughfares turned to raging rivers that trapped drivers, subways gushed like geysers, water filled buses up to the seats and Newark Airport flooded.
In neighborhoods and apartments, water quickly filled basement and ground levels and trapped people. Countless water rescues were needed in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Dozens of rivers are now swollen and bursting their banks. The Schuylkill River in Philadelphia reached levels not seen since 1902.
The weather was spawned by the remnants of what once was Hurricane Ida. Central Park got a record-setting 3.15″ of rain in just one hour. At least nine inches of rain fell in just hours in South Plainfield, New Jersey.
The system also fueled tornadoes that trapped people in their homes, knocked down trees and power lines and left tens of thousands of homes and businesses without power.
We’re posting the latest updates below.
Tornado Devastated New Jersey’s Biggest Dairy Farm
The tornado that ravaged Mullica Hill ripped apart buildings housing 1,400 cows. About 150 cows were trapped in the debris and three were killed, Marianne Eachus, who owns Wellacrest Farm with her husband, Ward, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The tornado toppled several large grain silos and tore through acres of corn that feeds the cows at the state’s largest dairy farm.
”The silos were gone. The buildings were ruined. Cows were running all over,” Eachus said.
Philadelphia Apartment Residents Told to Evacuate Immediately
Residents of the Park Towne Place apartments along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia have been told to leave the buildings because of “deteriorating conditions,” KYW News Radio reported.
“Please evacuate your home immediately; entrance doors will be locked at 12:45 p.m. EST due to deteriorating conditions. Re-entry will not be allowed until further notice,” building management told residents in an alert, according to WCAU.
The complex off the Ben Franklin Parkway in Center City has more than 900 apartments. Center City flooded Thursday morning when the river overflowed its banks.
Woman Describes Deadly Flooding at Queens Apartment
Deborah Torres and her 14-year-old daughter were in their pajamas when water started to flow into their first-floor apartment in Queens, New York.
“It was so fast,” Torres, 38, told the New York Daily News. “My daughter started to scream, ‘Mommy! Mommy! The water’s coming up!’ And when I came out from my room the water was already on my feet. And we didn’t have time, the water started to come, come, come.”
The apartment was underwater in eight minutes, Torres told the newspaper.
“My sofa was floating. This never happened before,” she said. “I wasn’t paying attention to my things — I was so worried about the family downstairs.”
Torres said the tenant in the basement apartment did not escape the floodwaters.
“I think the pressure of the water was too strong that they couldn’t open the door either side,” she recalled. “The (basement) was just like a pool with stairs.”
The 86-year-old woman who lived in the basement apartment was found dead by her son shortly before midnight, the Daily News reported.
3 Deaths in Montgomery County in Pennsylvania
Three storm-related deaths are being investigated by the Montgomery County coroner, Valerie A. Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, said during a briefing Thursday.
Arkoosh confirmed that one fatality was in Upper Dublin, where a woman was killed when a tree fell onto her home. She said the other two were drowning deaths, one in a home and the other in a car.
She said there had been more than 450 water rescues overnight in the county and compared that to a total of 135 during Hurricane Isaias last year.
Arkoosh also asked residents to “stay vigilant and stay off the roads if you can,” and she warned that the Schuylkill River had not yet crested.
Anyone needing a place to stay on Thursday night may go to the Red Cross Shelter at the Norristown Area High School at 1900 Eagle Drive in Norristown.
17 Deaths in New York and New Jersey
Nine deaths were reported in New York City and eight have been reported in New Jersey.
Four people were found dead at the Oakwood Apartment complex in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the city’s public information officer Kelly Martins confirmed to weather.com.
Three family members and a neighbor, were found at 430 Irvington Ave. They were a 72-year-old woman, her 71-year-old husband, and their 38-year-old son, Martins said. A 33-year-old female neighbor was also found with them. Names have not been released yet, she said.
Martins earlier had said five people had died at the complex, but she and the mayor later corrected that to say it was only four.
In Passaic, New Jersey, Mayor Hector C. Lora said at least one person was thought to have died after being trapped in a car in the rising floodwaters.
“His family was rescued, they were all in the same car. Unfortunately, the car was overtaken by the waters, and the firefighters who were being dragged down under the vehicle were unable to get him out,” Lora told WCBS-TV.
Lora said there was an unconfirmed report of another death in the city.
In Hillsborough Township, two people died after driving into floodwaters, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Deputy Chief Frank Roman Jr. told nj.com.
A driver was found dead in his truck in a creek in Milford in Hunterdon County, Mayor Henri Schepens told nj.com.
“We don’t know where the vehicle came from,” Schepens said. “It could have gone through many bridges. It went for quite the distance. The whole roof was smashed in. Water is amazingly powerful.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said nine people died from the storm.
“Nine people who were alive at this exact moment yesterday, no idea that such a horrible thing could befall them,” he said at a briefing Thursday morning.
“Our hearts ache for the lives lost in last night’s storm. Please keep them and their loved ones in your thoughts today,” de Blasio said. “They were our fellow New Yorkers and to their families, your city will be there for you in the days ahead.”
The New York victims were in four different areas across the city, according to the New York Times. They died when they became trapped in flooded basements and ranged in age from 2 to 86, the New York Police Department said. They included a 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and a 2-year-old boy who were found unconscious and unresponsive late Wednesday inside a home in Queens, according to the Associated Press. A New York City police spokesperson says a total of eight people died when they became trapped in flooded basements.
Official causes of death will be determined later by the city’s medical examiner, the department said.
Police Officers Cling to Trees, Fire Guns to Lead Rescuers to Them
Three New Jersey police officers clung to trees for hours and fired their pistols to guide rescuers to them after their vehicles were swept away in floodwaters Wednesday night, nj.com reported.
Hopewell Township Police Officer James Hoffman was the first to get into trouble when he responded to a report of a vehicle in floodwaters on Route 518. His patrol car also flooded and began to float in the swiftly moving water. He swam out the car’s window to a tree where he grabbed hold.
As Officers Michael Makwinski and Robert Voorhees searched for Hoffman, their vehicle was also swept into the raging waters. They, too, left the car and found trees to hang onto.
Firefighters searched for the three based on their locations when they last radioed in. As the firefighters neared them, the police officers fired their guns, Hopewell Township Police Director Bob Karmazin told NJ Advance Media.
After hanging onto the trees for about two hours, the police officers were found and firefighters took them to safety in boats. They were taken to a hospital but were basically uninjured, Karmazin said.
Hundreds Rescue in Elizabeth, New Jersey
The Fire Department in Elizabeth, New Jersey, rescued hundreds of people from Oakwood Plaza apartment complex, where five people died, and the surrounding area, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage told AP.
“We had to drill down from the second floor of some apartments to get to people in units below to rescue them,” Bollwage said. “We rescued hundreds of people from cars or the tops of their cars.”
The department’s offices next to the apartment complex were also inundated.
Connecticut Trooper Caught Up in Flooding
Floodwaters swept away a Connecticut state trooper and his cruiser earlyThursday in the town of Woodbury, just west of Waterbury, AP reported. The trooper was flown by helicopter to Yale New Haven Hospital. No information on his condition was immediately available and he was not identified.
Many Had Left for School in Philadelphia Before Delay Was Announced
Many parents and students in Philadelphia were frustrated that the school district did not call for a two-hour delay until after 8 a.m. Thursday. Some schools begin opening at 7:30 a.m.
Many teachers and staff members couldn’t make it to Martin Luther King High School, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
English teacher Stephen Flemming made his way in but he couldn’t believe the district had not closed all schools earlier.
”We made it through a pandemic, but we couldn’t get this right? I am gobsmacked,” Flemming said.
Rooftop Rescues in Pennsylvania
Rescue crews in boats pulled people off the roof of a flooded home in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, on Thursday morning as the Schuylkill River overflowed its banks, WCAU reported. Other rescues could be seen as crews went from home to home.
Falling Tree Kills Woman in Pennsylvania
The township of Upper Dublin in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, was hit hard by the storm, and a tornado may have touched down.
One woman was killed when a tree fell onto her home, WPVI reported.
“We were struck very hard with significant damage to the township building, to the high school, multiple homes, buildings at Temple’s Ambler campus, and right now we really don’t know exactly how bad the damage is,” Upper Dublin Township Manager Paul Leonard told WPVI.
Todd Stieritz, public affairs coordinator for Montgomery County’s Department of Public Safety, told the Philadelphia Inquirer wind damage was concentrated along the Route 309 corridor, including the communities of Whitemarsh, Upper Dublin, Upper Moreland and Horsham, with damage to trees, power lines and homes.
Philadelphia’s Center City Inundated
The Center City neighborhood in Philadelphia remained flooded Thursday morning as the Schuylkill River reached 15.63 feet, more than 4 feet above flood stage, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Apartment complexes were surrounded by several feet of water, and cars were almost completely submerged.
Conshohocken Apartments Flooded
The Schyulkill River reached 27 feet, or 5 feet above flood stage, at the Borough of Conshohocken, just northwest of Philadelphia.
Residents of two apartment complexes are trapped inside their buildings after floodwaters rose around them.
Watching the river rise all night from their fourth-floor apartment was Sarah Sewell and her boyfriend.
As the sun came up, the river had completely flooded the apartment building’s basement garage and entered the first floor apartments, Sewell told the Inquirer.
”It’s like the Titanic, the building is just completely filled down there,” Sewell said.
Damage in Whitemarsh
The eastern part of Whitemarsh Township sustained significant damage, according to a Facebook post from township officials. The post said crews were working to clear roads so damage could be evaluated.
State of Emergency Declared in NYC, New York and New Jersey
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency due to the historic rainfall and flooding and issued a travel ban overnight that expired at 5 a.m. Thursday in order to keep people off flooded roads. Gov. Kathy Hochul also declared a state of emergency for New York state.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency about 10 p.m. “We will use every resource at our disposal to ensure the safety of New Jerseyans,” the governor tweeted. “Stay off the roads, stay home, and stay safe.”
Train Service Suspended
The New York City Metro Transit Authority said service was “largely suspended” and urged people not to travel. There were only limited trains running early Thursday morning.
All morning Amtrak service between Philadelphia and Boston was canceled due to flooding.
About 200 people were stuck for three and a half hours in a train near Newark Liberty International Airport because of the flooding. They were rescued about 9 p.m., Jim Smith, spokesman for New Jersey Transit, said. No injuries were reported, he said.
New Jersey Mayor Describes Tornado Damage
The mayor of Harrison Township, New Jersey, spoke to The Weather Channel late Wednesday night about the tornado damage in Mullica Hill where some homes were left in splintered ruin.
“We have several residents who have been in the path directly and therefore had their owns home leveled and others in close proximity with hardly any damage at all,” Mayor Lou Manzo said.
“There were a few that needed to be rescued for lack of a better term from their home because they had sheltered in the basements and the entire foundation of their house had shifted or had come down. We are only by the grace of god lucky enough to this point that there was only one injury that required going to the hospital.”
The town is in Gloucester County, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.
Surviving in Mullica Hill
Troy Bonnenberg lost the back half of his home in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, because of the tornado.
He told WPVI he and his children sought shelter in the basement as the twister roared through the neighborhood. Their dog Ginger move her ears side to side as the storm drew near, Bonnenberg told the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the family huddled under the stairs.
The suspected tornado ripped off siding and sections of the second story roof.
”It all happened so fast,” Bonnenberg said Thursday morning while looking for possessions among the piles of debris scattered about.
The house across the street is uninhabitable.
“It’s horrible. You never expect anything like this to happen in this area because you’re not in the Midwest,” Robin Wilson Smith said.
Tens of Thousands Without Power
More than 200,000 home and business were without power across Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey as of about 8 a.m. Thursday, according to poweroutage.us. About 25,000 outages were being reported in New Jersey.
370 Flights Canceled at Newark Airport
At least 370 flights have been canceled for Thursday at Newark Liberty International Airport.
“The storm has passed but our crews are working diligently to clear residual flooding & return ops to normal,” the airport tweeted.
Video posted about 9:30 p.m. by WABC-TV showed a baggage handling area underwater. The air traffic control tower at the airport was temporarily evacauted due to a tornado warning, local media reported. Workers have since returned.
Parking lots at the airport were shut down because of flooding.
Disruptions at JFK and LaGuardia
Officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport tweeted that operations were returning to normal Thursday morning. As of 7:30 a.m., 20 departure flights had been canceled. Thirty-one arrivals have been canceled.
At LaGuardia Airport, at least 56 flights have been canceled.
All the airports strongly encouraged passengers to check with their carriers before traveling to the airport.
Water Poured Into Homes in Lambertville, New Jersey
Floodwaters covered streets and inundated homes and cars in Lambertville, about 15 miles northwest of Trenton. Water was a few feet high in some homes.
Lambertville resident Pearl Gabel told The Weather Channel that she has never seen flooding like it. Water rose from her basement and flooded the first floor of her home.
“I wish we had taken this more seriously,” she said.
Voluntary Evacuations Called in Part of Trenton, New Jersey
Residents in the Island neighborhood of Trenton were advised to evacuate Wednesday due to fears of flooding from the Delaware River.
The city said the power grid would be turned off in the area at 8 a.m. Thursday. A shelter was opened at Joyce Kilmer School. A state of emergency was declared for the city.
Injuries Reported in New Jersey Flooding
Seven people were injured when a building roof collapsed amid flash flooding in Hudson County, New Jersey. The incident happened at the post office in Kearny, northeast of Newark. There are also multiple roads in the area with significant flooding.
Water Rescues Ongoing in Many Areas
First responders in Essex County, New Jersey, were rescuing people trapped in their cars by floodwaters at around 8 p.m., including multiple drivers stranded in the town of Livingston.
Multiple rescues were also ongoing in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Police there sent out an emergency alert advising people to remain indoors and stay off roadways.
People Trapped in Their Homes in Gloucester County, New Jersey
A 911 dispatcher in Mantua Township, N.J., told weather.com that people were trapped in their basements, roofs were gone and there were reports of some injuries, including broken bones.
The township is in Gloucester County, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.
Video from the Gloucester County town of Mullica Hill showed homes ripped apart.
Water Levels Receding at Wilmore Dam
Officials hoped residents in the Wilmore area of Cambria County, Pennsylvania could return home this evening.
Art Martynuska, the county’s emergency management director, told The Associated Press that water receding at the Wilmore Dam. Concerns over rising water there had prompted a flash flood emergency and the evacuation of hundreds of residents earlier in the day.
Camri County officials were working to dispel rumors that the dam was working as planned and did not fail.
“Wilmore dam hasn’t failed. If any dam would fail in Cambria County, every phone number across the county would be getting an emergency alert about it,” Martynuska told the Tribune-Democrat. “It would be as whole different situation we’d be dealing with right now. And there would be alerts to everyone.”
At Least 100 Homes Damaged in Maryland Tornado
More than 100 homes sustained severe damage after a tornado tore through Edgewater, Maryland, Wednesday afternoon, according to the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. The twister tore through the Annapolis area, ripping off roofs, knocking down trees and taking down power lines.
Substantial Damage in Annapolis Area, Fire Department Says
The Anne Arundel County Fire Department says there is “substantial damage” in the Londontown/Mayo/Edgewater area southwest of Annapolis. Mutual agencies are assisting.
As of about 4 p.m., there have been no reports of injuries.
Roads Shut Down After Tornado in Annapolis
Annapolis police are closing some streets due to downed trees and storm damage. Police said parts of West Street and Forest Street would be closed for “an extended period of time.”
Residents in the area were advised to avoid travel.
Tornado Causes Damage in Maryland
Power lines are down and the roof ripped off at least one home after a tornado moved through the Annapolis, Maryland, area on Wednesday afternoon. Images shared to social media a home that appeared to be missing its roof and a street covered with toppled poles and other debris.
One Person Confirmed Dead in Montgomery County, Maryland
A 19-year-old man was confirmed dead after flooding at an apartment complex early this morning in Rockville, Maryland. Montgomery County Fire Rescue Special Operations Chief Daniel Ogren told weather.com in a phone call Wednesday.
Ogren said residents described waking up overnight with water filling their apartments. Some stood on beds and other furniture as the water rose higher and higher. Trapped residents couldn’t escape because water was blocking doors and windows, too, Ogren said.
A dozen apartments were completely destroyed. Ogren described them as being “terrace level” units in a bowl-like area below the main ground level apartments, and down a series of steps from the parking lot.
There isn’t a body of water nearby, but Ogren said there was torrential rainfall in a short period of time.
Video from WJLA-TV showed a torrent of water rushing downhill toward the apartments.
Montgomery County police spokesperson Shiera Goff told local media that fire and rescue received multiple calls about flooding around 3:50 a.m. at Rock Creek Woods Apartments.
Goff said rescue crews were able to “evacuate about 10 people from their windows.”
Officials had previously said two people were missing. The other person was still missing, but Ogren said all the apartments and the immediate area around them had been searched thoroughly.
“We’re leaning, and hoping, that this person was not home” when the flooding hit, Ogren said.
Rockville is about 16 miles north of Washington, D.C.
School Buses Stranded in Flooding With Children Aboard Near Pittsburgh
At least two school buses were stranded in floodwaters Wednesday morning in Allegheny County, not far from Pittsburgh. In Stowe Township, a bus with eight children aboard was stuck on a flooded road, but rescue crews safely removed the children from the bus and they were safely transported to their school, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In another instance, a bus that was carrying kids was stranded on a flooded Seavey Road in Shaler Township. Those children were also safely rescued, according to local reports.
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