New York flooding: new normal warns Governor

The scale of the flooding in New York City these past few days is yet another wake-up call for the market over climate risks and has been called the “new normal by Governor Kathy Hochul.

Torrential downpours caused extensive flash flooding in New York City on Friday 29 September.

Almost eight inches (20 cm) of rain fell  in some parts of the city.

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.

The intense rainfall turned some streets into rivers, stranding buses and cars for hours, and forced some subway and commuter rail lines to shut down. Flights were delayed or canceled, and one terminal at LaGuardia Airport was evacuated.

“This is unfortunately what we have to expect as the new normal,” Hochul said.

A state of emergency, which allows faster allocation of resources to deal with a crisis, will remain in effect for the next six days, Hochul said. No fatalities were reported as a result of the storm.

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.

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.

More than 2.5in of rain was reported in one hour in Brooklyn Navy Yard. In a 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.  

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