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Rain in NYC
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/samchills

Five unprecedented ways last night's flooding affected NYC

The remnants of Hurricane Ida exposed how unprepared the city is for ever-increasing extreme weather.

Written by
André Wheeler
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Last night, the remnants of Hurricane Ida striking the east coast led to unprecedented floods and rainwater in New York City. Across the area, there were debilitating closures and delays on the MTA subway system and near-biblical scenes of apartments and homes submerged in water. A day later, much of the damage is still being assessed, but, as of Thursday evening, there are 18 confirmed deaths related to the storm and New York’s transportation network remains hobbled. The effects are lingering and far-reaching—the 2021 U.S. Open was forced to revise its schedule and postpone games, basement apartments are soaked in water and mass disruption to transportation continues. And the torrential downpour provided plenty of viral content that makes a strong case for improved infrastructure funding. 

Here’s a look at the unprecedented destruction and chaos Hurricane Ida brought to the New York area. 

The U.S. Open was delayed 

Heavy rain and wind came through the open roofs of Louis Armstrong Stadium, which hosts the U.S. Open, prompting matches to be delayed. One match that was originally scheduled to be played on the stadium's court was postponed, while another was moved indoors. 

The disruptions caused frustration to players Diego Schwartzman and Kevin Anderson—whose match was repeatedly interrupted while workers cleared rainwater and ensured safety. ““I was ready to play and I wanted to finish today, not finish tomorrow. You never know what can happen,” Schwartzman told AP. “I was trying to push ... to play tonight.” 

Cars were stranded as roads and highways flooded 

Dozens of vehicles were trapped on Major Deegan Highway, which runs through portions of Upper Manhattan, after rain flooded the busy thoroughfare.

Scenes of streets and roads turning into temporary canals could be found across the city, sadly. 

Newark International Airport faced major flooding

Multiple flights were canceled and delayed as Newark International Airport, a major travel hub for New Jersey residents and New Yorkers, was crushed by the rainfall. 

The MTA and other transit systems were crippled 

The record rainfall led to at least 17 trains getting trapped and forcing the cancelation of train service throughout the night and early morning. As of Thursday evening, the MTA was still working towards restoring full service as normal.

Many New Yorkers unexpectedly found themselves stranded 

The sheer gridlock the rain caused prompted many transportation officials to advocate for greater funding towards improving the MTA system, specifically calling for congestion pricing to help raise money for renovations. 

Felicia Park-Rogers, director of regional infrastructure projects for the tri-state transportation campaign, said,We call on our New York and New Jersey delegations in the House of Representatives to reinstate $10 billion for transit operations funding in the budget reconciliation bill. Those funds were cut out of the federal infrastructure bill. The flooding of subways, rail lines, and bus depots will continue to only worsen in severity. Our government must act now to fund our transit systems to be able to not only respond to a crisis, but to also prepare for it. This disaster also underscores the need for NYC to implement congestion pricing quickly because we desperately need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and overreliance on cars.”

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