President Biden blames 'climate crisis' as storm Ida kills at least 46 in Northeast

September 03, 2021

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that Storm Ida and wildfires served as deadly reminders that the “climate crisis” has arrived.

“These extreme storms, and the climate crisis, are here,” Biden said in a White House speech. “We must be better prepared. We need to act.”

At least 46 people have died in the Northeastern US after record-breaking rain and brutal flooding hit New York and New Jersey.

In New Jersey alone, at least 23 people died, Governor Phil Murphy said, with most victims caught in their cars by flooding.

At least 13 people died in New York City, said Mayor Bill de Blasio. Many were trapped in their basements as the waters rose.

The storm that hit the US East Coast is the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which lashed Louisiana earlier in the week.

At least 13 people were killed in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Scientists say climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events — such as large tropical storms, and the droughts and heatwaves that create conditions for vast wildfires.

US weather officials recently reported that July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded in 142 years of record-keeping.

Ida was the fifth-most powerful storm to strike the US when it hit Louisiana on Sunday with maximum winds of 240 kph , likely causing tens of billions of dollars in flood, wind and other damage, including to the electrical grid.

More than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi remained without power.

New Orleans was plunged into total darkness; power began returning to parts of the city Wednesday. Biden is set to visit Louisiana on Friday to survey some of the damage and meet with government officials there.

New York’s FDR Drive, a major artery on the east side of Manhattan, and the Bronx River Parkway were underwater by late Wednesday evening.

Subway stations and rail tracks became so flooded that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended all service.

Videos posted online showed some passengers standing on seats in cars filled with water.

This is the first time in history that the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for New York. Tornado warnings were issued for parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The region had been warned about potentially deadly flash flooding but hadn't braced for such conditions.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the storm's strength took them by surprise.

The storm ultimately dumped over 23 centimeters of rain in parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and nearly as much on New York City's Staten Island.

In Washington D.C., Biden assured residents that federal first responders were on the ground to help clean up.

All flights to and from the Newark Liberty International Airport have been suspended. Most of the subway lines in New York are also closed. — Euronews

September 03, 2021
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