NEW YORK – The alarms that arrive on all cell phones in America when there is a risk of any kind near it, began to ring on Wednesday, around eight in the evening, when it was already raining heavily on the Big Apple due to the hurricane Ida.
Then the messages became more and more disturbing, all the more so with the streets still full of South American messengers intent on delivering food, tinkering on bikes shaken by the wind and with the water rising in the meantime: “Floods in progress. Conditions. Weather. dangerous for your life. Do not leave the house and do not immediately seek shelter “.
Use before and after Hurricane Ida: streets flooded in minutes
Too late. After declaring a state of emergency when it was almost midnight, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed it in mid-morning: after devastating Louisiana, leaving New Orleans in the dark, Hurricane Ida’s tail landed here causing at least 40 deaths ( but there could be more). Including a two-year-old boy found together with his 48- and 50-year-old parents and an 86-year-old woman.
All overwhelmed by the water in the basements where they lived. Numbers that rise to twenty-two if we also calculate the deaths in Maryland and New Jersey. “A historic meteorological event” defined the mayor.
Usa, flying inside Ida: images from the eye of the hurricane
On the other hand, in the first hour alone – just between 8pm and 9pm when the alarms began to sound – about 10 centimeters of rain fell on the city. And it continued like this throughout the night. Some subway stations – on 28th street and 142nd street – were swept away by water, which reached the electric tracks, forcing the service to be interrupted.
At one in the morning, then, another message: it is forbidden to drive by car until five in the morning. Indeed, a curfew caused by rain. Newark Airport is also closed from nine in the evening. And the stadium where the US Open is played has also flooded, forcing the postponement of tennis competitions.
Such a thing, in America’s most famous metropolis, had never really been seen. Although a warning had already occurred two weeks ago. When the sudden tail of Hurricane Henri unexpectedly hit the city on August 21, forcing the We Love NYC concert in Central Park to be stopped, preventing big names like Paul Simon from performing at Bruce Springsteen.
At an outdoor mid-morning press conference in Jamaica’s hardest hit area of Queens, new governor Kathy Hochul reiterated: “This is the first time there is a” flash flood “in New York, yes, in short, such a severe sudden flood, caused by rain, “he said, making the list of floods, from the subway, in fact, to the Lincoln Tunnel that connects New York to New Jersey.
“Experts are no longer able to predict the suddenness of certain phenomena. We have to completely rethink our contingency plans. And every resident, every visitor to New York must know what to do after receiving an alarm, aware of the deadly seriousness of the risk. . “.
A concept also underlined by de Blasio: “It is a wake-up call for everyone. We must learn to react much faster. And more funds are needed”.
President Joe Biden, today in Louisiana just to visit the areas devastated by the Ida in the South, has already promised an important allocation. Meanwhile, the morning light showed how much the hurricane’s virulence affected Pennsylvania as well. Half Philadelphia is flooded just like major cities in New Jersey and New York, but it is not yet known whether there were any casualties there as well.
The “socialist” deputy from New York Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, godmother of the Green New Deal, is already pointing her finger: “Climate change is to blame.” While on Twitter she tries to ironize the New York journalist Philip Gourevitch: “Not being in the middle of fire or underwater these days is now anti-American”, she writes, alluding to the fire emergency that is ravaging California in these same hours. .