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New York City: State of emergency declared over flash flooding

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A state of emergency has been declared in New York City as strong storms bring flash flooding.

Many of the city’s subway systems, streets and highways have flooded, while at least one terminal at LaGuardia Airport closed on Friday before later reopening.

Up to 8in (20cm) of rain fell in some parts of the city, but skies had calmed slightly by the evening.

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“This is a dangerous, life-threatening storm,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.

“I am declaring a state of emergency across New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley due to the extreme rainfall we’re seeing throughout the region,” Gov Hochul said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

She urged people to take steps to stay safe and “never attempt to travel on flooded roads”.

No deaths or critical injuries have been reported.

A state of emergency was also declared in the New Jersey town of Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City.

In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams, warned people it was a time for “heightened alertness and extreme caution” as the state of emergency was put in place.

“Some of our subways are flooded and it is extremely difficult to move around the city,” he told a press briefing.

On Friday evening, Mr Adams told CBS, the BBC’s partner in the US, that there were 15 rescues from cars and three rescues from basement apartments.

Despite the rain easing later on Friday, Gov Hochul warned “we’re still in the throes of it”.

“My biggest concern right now is that people will see a lull in the rain and people will go out in their vehicles,” she told CNN.

Flooding caused major disruptions to New York’s subway system and the Metro North commuter rail service, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Agency. Some subway lines were suspended entirely, and many stations were closed.

In Mamaroneck, a Westchester County suburb north of the city, emergency officials used inflatable rafts to rescue people trapped in buildings by floods, Reuters reported.

Pictures and video footage showed people wading through water reaching up to their knees, as streets and subways were hit by heavy rain. Several videos posted to social media appeared to show water pouring from the ceiling and walls of subway stations and onto inundated platforms.

More than 2.5in of rain was reported in one hour in Brooklyn Navy Yard. In a virtual briefing, New York’s chief climate officer Rohit Aggarwala said that the city’s sewage system was only designed to handle 1.75 inches an hour.

“It’s no surprise that parts of Brooklyn have borne the brunt of this,” he said.

In South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, workers waded through knee-high water as they tried to unclog a drain as cardboard and other debris floated by.

One resident, Kelly Hayes, told the BBC that she estimated that the flood damage to her bar and kitchen in the Gowanus neighbourhood will cost between $25,000 and $30,000 (£20,500-$24,500).

Image source, Reuters

Terminal A at La Guardia Airport was closed because of flooding, authorities said.

Passengers were advised to check with their airline before travelling.

The New York Police Department also announced multiple road closures and said the National Guard had been deployed.

Elsewhere, traffic hit a standstill as water rose above cars’ tires along a stretch of the FDR Drive – a major road along the east side of Manhattan.

New York City has had nearly 14in of rain so far this month, making it the wettest September since 1882, according to National Weather Service data.

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