Death toll from Ida rises to 45, after storm hammers US Northeast

A stunned US East Coast has awoken on Thursday to a rising death toll, surging rivers and destruction from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which walloped the region with record-breaking rain days after hitting the Gulf Coast as one of the strongest hurricanes on record to strike the US. The majority of the deaths were people caught in their vehicles by flooding and were “overtaken by the water.” Officials said many people were unaccounted for.

The deaths were reported in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said 23 people were killed in his state, most of them in cars that were overtaken by flood waters. “We’re going to withhold a complete rundown of the blessed losses of life. They are spread across a handful of counties, largely concentrated — not entirely — but largely concentrated in central Jersey and a few in the north,” Murphy said in an evening update. At least one tornado rolled through the southern part of New Jersey, ripping the sides off some homes and turning others into rubble. In a region that had not expected a serious blow from the no-longer-hurricane, the storm killed at least 45 people from Maryland to New York on Wednesday night as basement apartments suddenly filled with water, rivers and creeks swelled to record levels and roadways turned into car-swallowing canals. Dozens have died in six Eastern states — Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia — after the storm brought unprecedented rainfall to some areas.

Amid a rare flash-flood emergency, water flooded the city’s streets, subway stations, and basement and ground floor apartments. Ida made landfall early Sunday afternoon in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane. At least nine deaths related to the storm were recorded in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, and the states are all now slowly trying to recover from Ida, which destroyed homes, businesses, and schools, and has left hundreds of thousands without electricity. The center of Ida is 100 miles east of Massachusetts and moving northeast.