Intense rainfall unleashed flash floods across various parts of New York City. The floods paralysed the city, stranding commuters and flooding homes.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday due to the “extreme rainfall” affecting not only New York City but also Long Island and the Hudson Valley. Hochul made the announcement on X formerly known as Twitter.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued flash flood warnings, placing approximately 8.5 million residents in the NYC area on high alert.

The floods exposed the shortcomings of New York’s infrastructure.

The flooding was aggravated by the city’s concrete jungle. The pavement blocked the natural drainage of rainwater. Overwhelmed sewer systems struggled to handle the heavy and sustained downpours which led to widespread inundation.

This weather event marked the wettest day in New York since the remnants of Hurricane Ida drenched the city earlier this year, setting record-breaking rainfall totals. Hurricane Ida previously resulted in at least 13 fatalities in the city, primarily in flooded basement apartments.

The boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens were particularly hard-hit, with flooded streets, abandoned cars, and inundated buildings becoming a common sight. Residents were forced to evacuate their homes as waters rose rapidly.

The city’s public transport system was not spared from the havoc. Subways and buses experienced significant disruptions, and service came to a standstill in many areas.

According to updates from the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, floodwaters had paralysed the city’s subway system, a substantial underground rail network, leading to “extremely limited” operations.

New York City’s Emergency Management Commissioner, Zachary Iscol, urged residents to heed weather advisories and take necessary precautions during these extreme weather conditions.

On the FDR highway along the east side of Manhattan, some drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles due to the rising floodwaters.

In response to the crisis, New York’s US Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, penned a letter to the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Deanne Criswell, urging FEMA to be prepared if their assistance was requested.