UPDATED 10:40 AM PT – Friday, September 3, 2021
As neighborhoods in New York City grappled with how to recover from Hurricane Ida, many have been mourning the deaths of several residents who were killed after being trapped in flash flooded basements. Authorities on Thursday confirmed multiple people became victims of catastrophic flooding following devastating weather and record-breaking rainfall from Hurricane Ida on Wednesday.
“This storm was horrible,” one local resident expressed. “It just came out of nowhere, just instantly, in less than a minute.”
Many were able to share their harrowing stories of survival as they battled flood waters, which rose higher than their chests in the blink of an eye.
“The water goes to my neck,” explained local home owner Danny Ong. “My neighbor in the second floor, he held my hand and I held my wife’s hand so we can get out from the basement.”
Amazed by the work of NY’s first responders during #Ida. @NYSDEC swiftwater rescue teams saved dozens of lives. Our Environmental Conservation Police rescued 14. Ranger Praczkajlo (pictured) reports Forest Ranger rescues of 86 people, five dogs, two cats and one bird. pic.twitter.com/uNNobwKI1Y
— Basil Seggos🇺🇸 (@BasilSeggos) September 3, 2021
At one development in Queens, water broke through a glass door and quickly filled the basement apartment of a 48-year-old woman. Neighbors were sadly unsuccessful in their hour-long attempt to save her.
“It was coming in so fast she ran to the door to go out, but by the time she got to the door, the pressure of the water just sealed her right in between, so she couldn’t go no further. We all came to her aid trying to get her out, but it was so strong of the water, you know, the thrust of the water was so strong, you cannot peel the door back.”
On Wednesday night, responding officers found three family members unconscious in Woodside, all of whom were pronounced dead on the scene. The youngest was two-years-old.
The work continues after Tropical Storm Ida flooded parts of New York State. Members of our Underwater Recovery Team work along the Sprain Brook Parkway in Yonkers, checking stranded vehicles. pic.twitter.com/28q7enfjfA
— NewYorkStatePolice (@nyspolice) September 2, 2021
The Chief of New York Police Department Community Affairs Bureau said officers were going door-to-door making sure there were no other victims. Touring the damage in Queens on Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) said the storm broke the record for most rainfall in the city within an hour’s time.
“Imagine the horror you’re sitting in your own basement apartment and the water just floods in all of the sudden with no notice,” stated Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “You struggle to get out, but you can’t.”.
Meanwhile, as overwhelming recovery efforts take place across the city, Hochul called for new investments in infrastructure in order to protect the streets and subway storms in the future.