Ida triggers massive flooding across Northeast

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Joshua Berlinger, Amy Woodyatt, Aditi Sangal, Adam Renton and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 0401 GMT (1201 HKT) September 3, 2021
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10:48 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

"We want this federal aid to come to us now," says Queens resident affected by floodwaters 

From CNN's Raja Razek

Amrita Bhagwandin, left, speaks alongside her husband, Sahadeo Bhagwandin, during an interview on September 2.
Amrita Bhagwandin, left, speaks alongside her husband, Sahadeo Bhagwandin, during an interview on September 2. CNN

A Queens, New York, resident whose two neighbors died due to flooding in the area told CNN's Chris Cuomo that federal aid is needed "now," because the situation is very "unsafe."

"Death is upon us," Amrita Bhagwandin said. "There is only sadness, and it's just overwhelming. So, where we are is that we have to start from scratch as we are in mourning. We have to see how we can move on."

Bhagwandin said she pays attention to weather, and while her neighborhood is a "beautiful place ... it's mayhem when it starts to flood." She said before her husband could leave the house there "was like 12 feet of water" and cars were submerged "in a matter of minutes."��

"We would like to see the promises made today by the governor, the mayor, the senators, all the city agencies to be fulfilled immediately," she said. "We want this federal aid to come to us now. Tomorrow can't come fast enough. It should have been here today."
9:43 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

New York governor: "It's been a hard day for New Yorkers"

From CNN’s Liam Reily

(CNN)
(CNN)

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said it’s been heartbreaking being in New York City after the impact of Hurricane Ida.

“It’s been a hard day for New Yorkers, to not just to deal with the weather but to wake up and know that we lost some of our fellow citizens, simply because they weren’t able to get out of their car, weren’t able to get out of their home,” Hochul told CNN Thursday night. “So it’s really heartbreaking being here in the city of New York.”

Hochul reiterated her need to do a full assessment of what led to the city’s response to the storm.

“Once we get our feel assessment done, I’m going to be demanding answers,” Hochul said. “I want to know who knew what when and what could have been done differently -- because New Yorkers deserve to know what we’re doing to learn from this event and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

8:49 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

New Jersey governor requests major disaster declaration from Biden

From CNN's Rob Frehse

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has requested a major disaster declaration from President Biden, citing the severity of Hurricane Ida.

“This support will help us meet the urgent needs of our residents and businesses in the wake of the this unprecedented disaster,” Murphy tweeted, adding he was hopeful the request would be considered quickly.

In a letter to Biden, Murphy cited the estimated 8 to 10 inches of rain that fell in central New Jersey in mere hours, noting that was more than a month’s worth of rain at one time.

He also noted how the storm overwhelmed counties along the Delaware River and inland waterways, among other damage and destruction from Ida.

8:28 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Access to gas continues to be one of Louisiana's biggest needs following Hurricane Ida

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Motorists wait in line for gas after Hurricane Ida on September 1,  in Hammond, Louisiana.
Motorists wait in line for gas after Hurricane Ida on September 1, in Hammond, Louisiana. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Access to gas continues to be one of Louisiana’s biggest needs following Hurricane Ida, as it is important to the state’s continued response and recovery, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

The governor said there are currently eight refineries that are not operating in Louisiana, making up two-thirds of its refining capacity. Edwards said the state expects two of those refineries to come back online in the next couple of days and at least two more in the days following.

“Even if that happens, we're going to be at half of our refining capacity,” the governor said. “So we continue to look for other solutions.”

Edwards said he had a call with the White House Wednesday night to address the issue and also spoke with the secretary of energy this morning.

“She has approved, for example, for Exxon Mobil and other refiners to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to access crude, so that those refineries that can actually make gas and diesel,” the governor said.

The governor also noted that the number of Louisiana residents in public shelters after Hurricane Ida continues to climb, with 3,425 individuals being sheltered in 35 shelters across the state as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

 

7:56 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

NYPD rescues more than 800 passengers from city's subways, chief says

From CNN’s Mark Morales

More than 800 passengers were rescued from across the New York City's subway system due to last night's storm, New York Police Department Chief Rodney Harrison said Thursday.

Along with the 835 passengers rescued, the NYPD made 69 water rescues and 166 non-water rescues related to the remnants of Hurricane Ida, Harrison said.

Twenty of the 69 water rescues happened in Queens, and 18 of the 20 Queens rescues occurred at the ongoing US Open tennis tournament, Harrison said.

The NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit made a separate 166 non-water rescues, Harrison said.

Harrison said 25 families need relocation because of the storm. The NYPD also found 496 vehicles abandoned across the city. There are still more vehicles that need to be taken out of the roadway, he said.

Additionally, Harrison said the only highway in the city that remains shut down is a part of the Bronx River Parkway.

The NYPD has also formed a task force of officers who will go door-to-door to check on residents in areas of the city where water rose to dangerous levels.

7:43 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Louisiana governor calls for an investigation into storm-related nursing home deaths

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

(Pool)
(Pool)

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called for an investigation into the deaths of four nursing home residents, who were evacuated to a facility in Tangipahoa Parish ahead of Hurricane Ida.

Edwards said three of the four deaths were classified as storm-related by the coroner, including a 59-year-old female from Jefferson Parish, a 52-year-old male from Orleans Parish, and a 77-year-old male from Terrebonne Parish.

“Upon being notified of deteriorating and inadequate shelter conditions at the facility, LDH inspectors visited the site, and I will tell you, were expelled from the property and prevented from conducting the full assessment and that was on Tuesday. They worked hard and they got with other state agencies and local officials, made sure we had new placements for these residents and starting with the most vulnerable. And in a little over 24 hours, all 843 residents were removed from the facility,” Edwards said.

“I would point out that, unless there's a mandatory evacuation order, nursing homes make the decisions about when and where to evacuate. And obviously, they have an obligation legal, moral and otherwise, to always provide safe and adequate conditions for their residents as best they are able to do,” the governor added.

The governor said the 843 nursing home residents were moved to a number of other nursing homes, 12 were moved to a hospital, and others to special needs shelters across Louisiana.

“We're going to do a full investigation into whether these facilities, the owner of the facilities failed to keep residents safe, and whether he intentionally obstructed efforts to check in on them, and determine what the conditions were in the shelter,” Edwards said. “If warranted, we will take aggressive legal action against any responsible parties. Our top priority now is making sure that the vulnerable residents are safe and well cared for.”

7:24 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

Northeast electricity provider plans to finish 95% of power restoration by Friday night

From CNN's Rob Frehse

Con Edison says it plans to finish 95% of power restoration by Friday night after the brutal weather from Hurricane Ida.

There were 32,000 customers that lost power after the storm Wednesday and a total of 13,216 are still without power, according to Con Edison. 

“Con Edison estimates that ninety five percent of the affected customers in Westchester will be restored by midnight on Friday,” the company said in a news release. “Ninety five percent of the affected Bronx customers will be restored by 3 p.m. on Friday and 95% of the affected Brooklyn customers will be restored by 11 a.m. on Friday. Ninety five percent of the affected customers in Queens will be restored by midnight tonight.”

The company said they brought in about 500 outside contractors to help with power restoration efforts.

Con Edison provides energy for 10 million people who live in New York City and Westchester County, according to their website.

7:04 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

At least 8 confirmed tornadoes hit the Northeast

From CNN's Taylor Ward

There were at least eight confirmed tornadoes in the Northeast on Wednesday, according to storm surveys conducted by the National Weather Service. 

Four tornadoes have been reported in Pennsylvania, including an EF-2 in Fort Washington, with winds up to 130 mph. 

Three tornadoes were confirmed in New Jersey, including one in Mullica Hill, although no other details were available yet. One tornado was also confirmed in southeast Massachusetts – an EF-0 with 75 mph winds in Dennis.

Some context: Some of the tornadoes have been confirmed, but details on the size and strength are not available yet. Other areas, like Maryland, have several preliminary tornado reports, but damage surveys have not been conducted.

 

7:30 p.m. ET, September 2, 2021

New Jersey governor pleads with residents: "Don't go near these waters"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy described a “historic” disaster in his state today and pleaded with residents not to aggravate the situation by furthering endangering themselves in the receding floodwaters.

Murphy said first responders rescued a second round of people today after they made their way through the standing water. 

“My big plea is don’t try that,” he said, speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer today. “Don’t go near these waters, stay home, stay away.”

“It will be our long road, but we will get back on our feet together,” he added.

Murphy also clarified that none of the state’s 23 storm-related deaths were related to tornado warnings, saying he thinks some state residents might have taken the flood warnings less seriously than the tornado warnings.

“The tornado warnings came out just as the flood warnings came out,” Murphy said. “Everybody, when they got the tornado warning, went into their basement and I think there were too many people who thought that they could deal with flooding and sadly, some of them either in their homes or in their cars, lost their lives.”