Torrential rainfall in New York’s Hudson Valley unleashed disastrous flooding, resulting in the tragic loss of at least one life, widespread road submersion, and necessary closures on Sunday night. Simultaneously, other areas across the Northeastern United States braced themselves for the onslaught of heavy rainfall.
As the storm progressed eastward, the National Weather Service extended flash flood warnings into Connecticut, encompassing cities like Stamford and Greenwich, before gradually reaching Massachusetts. Forecasters predicted that certain areas could receive as much as 127mm (5 inches) of rainfall.
In the midst of the crisis in New York’s Hudson Valley, rescue teams valiantly sought to recover the body of a woman in her 30s who tragically drowned while attempting to evacuate her home amidst the flash flooding. Two other individuals managed to escape the perilous situation.
Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus recounted the formidable force of the flash flooding, which dislodged boulders that crashed into the woman’s residence, causing damage to the structure. “Her house was completely enveloped by water,” Neuhaus shared. “She bravely attempted to navigate through the floodwaters with her dog, only to be overwhelmed by waves reminiscent of a tidal wave.”
The full extent of the destruction inflicted by the slow-moving storm, which deluged the region with up to 200mm (8 inches) of rainfall, will only be evident once residents and officials can assess the aftermath in the daylight hours. Preliminary estimates already indicate tens of millions of dollars in damages.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul confirmed that multiple individuals were reported missing, and one home was completely swept away by the relentless floodwaters.
While the intensity of the rainfall varied across different parts of New York, officials cautioned communities in the eastern part of the state to brace for torrential downpours and the potential for flash flooding.
Authorities strongly advised residents in the storm’s path to refrain from venturing out onto the roads, highlighting the extraordinary volume of water and the ongoing peril. “The amount of water is extraordinary, and it’s still an extremely dangerous situation,” Governor Hochul emphasized. While expressing confidence in overcoming the challenges, she acknowledged that the night ahead would be arduous.
Given the severity of the situation, Governor Hochul declared a state of emergency for Orange County on Sunday, located approximately 97km (60 miles) north of New York City. The state of emergency was later extended to Ontario County in western New York, southeast of Rochester. State agencies are actively participating 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 displayed the magnitude of the flooding, capturing powerful torrents of brown-colored water perilously close to homes, while roadways were washed away by swift and cascading flows. West Point, the esteemed US Military Academy, also experienced severe flooding, raising concerns about potential water damage to historic buildings.
The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings across southeastern New York, characterizing the situation as “life-threatening.” Similar warnings were also issued for northeastern New Jersey.
Looking ahead, the National Weather Service tweeted that a significant flood threat, accompanied by a high risk of excessive rainfall, is expected across much of New England on Monday.