A sustained round of torrential downpours in New York City has triggered flash flooding, disrupting subway service and causing major disruptions to the city’s transportation system. The flash flood warning, which was in effect until 2:30 p.m. EDT, saw as much as 6 inches of rain falling in some locations, including Brooklyn, lower Manhattan, and John F. Kennedy International Airport. With an additional 2 to 3 inches of rain expected, the National Weather Service has declared the situation as “seriously life-threatening” and urged residents to avoid travel until the rainfall subsides. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has declared a state of emergency, and the city’s Mayor Eric Adams has also declared a state of emergency for the city.
The extreme rainfall in New York City has prompted the city’s transportation authority to suspend subway lines and close many stations. The Metropolitan Transportation Agency reported major disruptions to subway service, as well as the Metro-North commuter rail service. As a result, New York Mayor Eric Adams has emphasized the need for heightened alertness and extreme caution, advising those at work or school to shelter in place. The heavy rainfall is part of a larger trend of intense rainfalls and extreme weather patterns that have become more common in many parts of the U.S., including the New York City area. Climate scientists attribute this increase to global warming.
The heavy rain in New York City this month has already made it one of the wettest Septembers on record, with 13.74 inches of rain falling so far. The all-time high for rainfall in September was set in 1882 with 16.82 inches. Despite the warnings and flooding, New York City’s public schools remained open, although some buildings experienced flooding. The worsening flooding conditions led one suburban district, Bronxville, to dismiss students early. The impact of the flooding has been felt by residents, with vehicles marooned on neighborhood streets and floodwaters pouring into subway stations. Many have expressed frustration with the lack of proper drainage systems and inadequate response from city officials, leading to a sense of suffering and broken promises among the affected communities.