A state of emergency has been declared in New York with the city is smashed by heavy rainfall as a tropical storm and the supermoon combine to bring treacherous conditions.
Roads have flooded and Subway services in some areas have come to a halt. A terminal at the city’s LaGuardia Airport was shut down.
A month’s worth of rain – about 100mm – fell in the city’s Brooklyn borough in just three hours on Friday morning.
“This is a dangerous weather condition and it is not over,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said on Friday.
“I don’t want those gaps in heavy rain to give the appearance that it is over, it is not.”
The US’ National Weather Service has warned of considerable flood damage being a possibility across New York and surrounding areas of the state as well as neighbouring New Jersey and Connecticut. Almost 9 million people are currently under flood warnings.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said it was a “very challenging weather event”.
“This a life-threatening event. And I need all New Yorkers to heed that warning so we can keep them safe.”
The bad weather is being partly due to the remnants of tropical storm Ophelia, in the Atlantic, pushing moisture to the north east of the US. But the supermoon, the final one of 2023, is also leading to higher tides exacerbating flood fears.
The storm drenched parts of the city’s Subway system, turning a staircase at the Grand Army Plaza station in Brooklyn into a waterfall, as seen in a bystander’s dramatic video.
Basements were also affected with authorities to warn people in apartments below ground level to move to higher ground.
Videos showed cars driving through knee-deep water in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighbourhood, with a whirlpool seen swirling in the middle of the waterlogged road, reported the New York Post.
Mobile phone footage taken on a bus in Brooklyn’s Bensonhurst neighbourhood showed floodwaters gushing into the vehicle filled with passengers, among them children, who tried to stay dry by lifting their feet off the floor.
The Big Apple’s major roads fared no better, as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Belt Parkway and Prospect Park Expressway all turning into rivers teeming with partially flooded cars trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Railway lines citywide are expecting delays and service changes, the agency said Friday.
“Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order,” an emergency alert sent out late Friday morning warned.