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Remnants of Hurricane Ida wreak havoc across New York City,at least 44 dead

Flash flooding killed at least 44 people in four Northeastern states as remnants of Hurricane Ida unleashed torrential rains that swept away cars, submerged New York City subway lines and grounded airline flights, officials said on Thursday.

Nearly all New York City subway lines were suspended late on Wednesday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida brought drenching rain.

At least 13 people lost their lives in New York City, along with three in suburban Westchester County, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a tweet at least 23 people from that state had perished in the storm.

Among the fatalities, three people were found dead in a basement in the New York City borough of Queens, while four residents of Elizabeth, New Jersey, died at a public housing complex flooded by 8 feet (2.4 m) of water.

Roadways were transformed into river-like torrents in minutes as the downpours struck on Wednesday night, trapping drivers in quickly rising floodwaters. Scores of vehicles were found abandoned on area roadways Thursday. In Somerset County, New Jersey, at least four motorists were killed, officials said.

A victim in Maplewood Township, New Jersey, was swept away while he was apparently trying remove debris from storm drains in the area, police said.

“Sadly, more than a few folks have passed as a result of this,” Murphy said at a briefing in Mullica Hill in the southern part of the state, where a tornado ripped apart several homes.

Earlier in the night, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency in response to Ida.

Ida’s remnants brought 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) of rain to a swath of the Northeast from Philadelphia to Connecticut and set an hourly rainfall record of 3.15 inches for Manhattan, breaking one set by Tropical Storm Henri less than two weeks ago, the National Weather Service said.

New York officials blamed much of flooding on the high volume of rainfall in a short span of time, rather than the daily total, which was within predictions.

“Because of climate change, unfortunately, this is something we’re going to have to deal with great regularity,” said Kathy Hochul, New York’s newly inaugurated governor.

Ida has been classified as a category four hurricane, meaning it can cause ‘catastrophic’ damage.

As it first hit Louisiana last week residents were urged to flee their homes as the storm bore down on the US.

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