In New York’s Hudson Valley, heavy rainfall unleashed catastrophic flooding that tragically claimed the life of at least one person, submerged roadways, and necessitated closures on Sunday night. As the storm made its eastward progression, the National Weather Service extended flash flood warnings into Connecticut, encompassing cities like Stamford and Greenwich, before gradually reaching Massachusetts. Meteorologists warned that certain areas could experience rainfall of up to 127mm (5 inches).
Amidst the calamity in the Hudson Valley, rescue teams are tirelessly working to recover the body of a woman in her 30s who tragically drowned while attempting to evacuate her home. In the face of flash flooding, two other individuals managed to escape. Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus revealed that the force of the flood dislodged boulders, which subsequently collided with the woman’s house, causing damage to its structure. “Her house was completely engulfed by water,” Neuhaus shared, recounting the harrowing incident. “She was bravely trying to navigate through the floodwaters with her dog when she was overwhelmed by waves akin to a tidal wave.”
With daybreak, the true extent of the destruction wrought by the sluggish storm, which unleashed up to 200mm (8 inches) of rainfall in the region, will gradually come to light. Preliminary estimates already indicate tens of millions of dollars in damages.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul confirmed that several individuals were reported missing, and one home was washed away by the forceful floodwaters. While the impact of the rain varied across different parts of New York, officials urged communities in the eastern part of the state to prepare for torrential downpours and the potential for flash flooding.
As the situation remains perilous, officials advised residents in the storm’s path to avoid venturing out onto the roads. Governor Hochul stressed the extraordinary volume of water and the inherent dangers. “The amount of water is exceptional, and it’s still an extremely dangerous situation,” she cautioned. While expressing confidence that they will overcome the challenges, she acknowledged that the night would be difficult.
In response to the severity of the situation, Governor Hochul declared a state of emergency on Sunday for Orange County, located approximately 97km (60 miles) north of New York City. The state of emergency was later extended to Ontario County, situated in western New York, southeast of Rochester. State agencies are actively involved in search and rescue efforts, with five swift water rescue teams and a high-axle vehicle deployed to assist in flooded areas.
Videos shared on social media showcase the devastating flooding, capturing torrents of brown-colored water rushing perilously close to homes, while roadways were washed away by swift and cascading currents. The deluge also severely impacted West Point, home to the prestigious US Military Academy, raising concerns about possible water damage to historic buildings.
The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings across southeastern New York, categorizing the situation as “life-threatening.” Similar warnings were issued for northeastern New Jersey.
Looking ahead, the National Weather Service tweeted that a significant flood threat, coupled with a high risk of excessive rainfall, is expected across much of New England on Monday. Vermont and northeastern New York are anticipated to bear the brunt of intense rainfall. Showers and thunderstorms were also forecasted for New York City on Sunday night, heightening the risk of flash flooding, as highlighted in a tweet from the National Weather Service of New York.
The city’s emergency notification system issued a tweet cautioning residents about the heavy rain and the potential for “life-threatening flooding to basements.” Residents were urged to make necessary preparations and be ready to relocate to higher ground if required.