At least 44 people have died after heavy rains and flooding in the northeast of the country.
New York is stunned. The region of the largest city in the United States was surprised, Wednesday September 1 and Thursday September 2, by the violence of Storm Ida and its torrential rains. The human toll is heavy with at least 44 dead. The inhabitants also deplore serious material damage , in cities which are not adapted to these extreme weather phenomena, accentuated by climate change .
A very heavy human toll
The number of victims of storm Ida has been on the rise for two days. According to a report released Friday morning, authorities counted at least 44 dead in New York and its region. In the American economic and cultural megalopolis, the police counted at least 13 deaths. Several people were probably trapped and drowned in their basements, rudimentary and sometimes unsanitary housing, built at the foot of buildings in the neighborhoods of Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn.
North of Manhattan, in upscale Westchester County, an official told CNN that three people who tried to get out of their cars had drowned. But it is New Jersey, a state that faces New York, which deplores the heaviest toll with “at least 23 people who have lost their lives,” according to Governor Phil Murphy.
Finally, a police officer assigned to monitor traffic died in the neighboring state of Connecticut as four p Philadelphia lmost, according to local authorities. Firefighters also rescued hundreds of residents across the region.
Considerable material damage
The images are impressive. Streets, avenues and expressways were suddenly turned into torrents, both in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens. In Westchester, dozens of vehicles were still submerged to the roof on Thursday and basements of traditional east coast houses were devastated by water sometimes rising to two feet.
D e many New York subway stations were flooded, but part of the network was able to restart on Thursday. Damage that highlight the bad water drainage system of the city and its inadequacy with extreme weather events increasingly recurrent, notes the New York Times (English) .
In New Jersey, even more impressive damage was observed in some localities, such as Mullica Hill. In this city, a dozen houses were completely destroyed by tornados, reports NBC (in English) . Power has also been cut in 200 000 homes in Pennsylvania and highway submerged by the waters, reports the New York Times (English) .
The White House has declared a state of emergency in the states of New York and New Jersey, ordering federal agencies to “identify, mobilize and provide the necessary equipment and resources at discretion . “
Phenomena accentuated by climate change
In the wake of Storm Ida, other potentially devastating weather phenomena were observed. Massive tornadoes hit Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. Downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, Ida also darkened the New England skies on Thursday night. Finally, a tornado hit the very touristy Cape Cod peninsula in Massachusetts.
And if hurricanes are a recurring phenomenon in the United States, the warming of the surface of the oceans contributes to making storms more powerful, warn scientists. In particular, they pose an increasingly significant risk to coastal communities, victims of wave-submersion phenomena amplified by rising sea levels.