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The Big Apple just got submerged in an unexpected flash flood. New Yorkers were horrified as flooding ravaged vehicles. This tragic event also claimed the lives of at least nine individuals and jeopardized the safety of countless citizens. Just how bad was New York City’s first-ever flash flood emergency?

Flash flood emergency wreaks havoc on New York City

Video of NYC flash flood emergency aftermath | NBC News via YouTube

It started as some steady rain. Then, emergency notifications blared through smartphone speakers. These warnings aren’t uncommon, but the rain seemed more persistent than usual. Something was different, something was very wrong. The City That Never Sleeps stared wide-eyed as a historic storm engulfed the streets changing the lives of many forever.

Some woke up on the morning of September 2nd, 2021, in New York City, completely unaware of the severity of the storm that had taken place overnight. At least nine individuals were robbed of their lives by a storm, unlike anything NYC has ever seen. According to NBC News, the storm was a byproduct of Hurricane Ida. The flash flood that ensued caused an apocalyptic scene for citizens and damaged many vehicles.

Some highways suffered such intense flooding that entire vehicles were submerged. Drivers struggled to get home last night in New York as vehicles slid and even floated, attempting to drive through flood waters. Many New Yorkers who endured the storm safely at home feared that their vehicles would be unusable by morning because of flood and water damage.

New York City drivers receive a shocking wake-up call

Video of NYC flash flood emergency aftermath | ABC 7 News via YouTube

The congested highways and roads of New York City aren’t the easiest to navigate. However, New York City rarely has to endure severe storms like the one that Hurricane Ida caused. Flash floods aren’t a major problem for New York City drivers. As a result, most drivers were completely unprepared for the relentless flooding that occurred on the night of September 2nd, 2021.

Many New Yorkers carried on about their day normally until the rain started to pick up on the night of the storm. New York is a tough city. It can handle a little rain. The problem is, this was more than a little rain. For most drivers, the storm and flash flood completely blindsided them. Countless vehicles were abandoned throughout New York City after drivers realized there was no overcoming the flash flood.

There was little action New Yorkers could take as their vehicles struggled to function while being submerged. Water that is higher than half of your wheelbase is usually trouble. The storm brought on inches of rain every hour for hours in NYC. Now New Yorkers are coming to the realization that New York may be subject to other storms like this in the future. This storm could be the first of many disastrous weather catastrophes in the years to come.

What should you do in the event of a flash flood?

People look at cars abandoned on the flooded Major Deegan Expressway following a night of extremely heavy rain in the Bronx borough of New York City.
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 02: People look at cars abandoned on the flooded Major Deegan Expressway following a night of extremely heavy rain in the Bronx borough of New York City | Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Flash floods happen suddenly and are overwhelming. Many flash flood deaths occur in vehicles. One of the worst things you can do in a flash flood is try to brave it and continue on to your original destination if you have a safer alternative.

Thankfully, technology like our smartphones can send warnings of events like flash floods. The best thing to do in the event of a flash flood is to find an area to safely leave your vehicle and take shelter if you are driving. If you do happen to get caught in a severe flash flood, abandoning your vehicle and getting help could potentially save your life.


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