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Hurricane Ida's Remnants Blindside USA's East Coast, Death Toll From Floods Cross 30

Hurricane Ida's remnants pounded the USA's East Coast with record-breaking rain, stranding more than two dozen people in their houses and killing at least 30

Hurricane Ida

Image: AP

At least 32 people died after the remnants of Hurricane Ida walloped the USA's East Coast, triggering heavy rainfall and flash floods. The catastrophic storm inflicted unprecedented damage to life and property in several parts of the region.

'Water was almost five feet high'

The tropical storm from Hurricane Ida killed at least 32 people between Maryland and New York on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Despite the states concerned issuing emergencies with warnings of flash floods, they remained unprepared to brace such a direct hit from the storm.

According to police, at least 12 individuals died in New York City, one in a car and 11 in flooded basement apartments, which are typically used as inexpensive housing in one of the country's most expensive housing markets. Three people were killed in suburban Westchester County. According to authorities, at least ten individuals died in New Jersey and at least five in Pennsylvania, including one who was killed by a falling tree and another who drowned in his car after assisting his wife to escape. A Connecticut state police sergeant died after his cruiser was carried away in the storm. 

News agency AP quoted a local resident, Sophy Liu, as saying, “I was obviously terrified, but I had to keep my cool for the sake of my son." According to the report, Liu was in her first-floor apartment in Queens when the flash flood hit. She awakened her kid from his sleep and placed him in a life jacket and inflatable swimming ring.  She then asked for help since she couldn't open the door against the force of the flood. When authorities reached to save her, the water was almost 5 feet (1.5 metres) high, she said.

Storm exacerbated by climate change

Another local, Deborah Torres' first-floor apartment in Queens quickly filled to her knees while her landlord urgently begged her neighbours downstairs, including a newborn, to evacuate, AP reported. However, the water was rushing in so fast that she assumed they couldn't open the door. Three people in the community lost their lives.

Ida's remnants kept a wet core, then merged with a more traditional storm front, dumping a deluge of rain along the Intestate-95 corridor, according to meteorologists. Similar weather has previously accompanied hurricanes, but researchers believe it was exacerbated by climate change since warmer air holds more rain and urban environments prevent water from sinking into the ground.

Since Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center has warned of the possibility of "severe and life-threatening flash floods" as well as moderate and major river flooding in the mid-Atlantic and New England regions.  Even so, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed the storm's power surprised them.

(With inputs from AP, Image: AP)

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