Ida live updates: NJ tornado reached EF-3 rating, NWS says
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — A tornado that ripped through Mullica Hill, New Jersey, on Wednesday evening is believed to have had an EF-3 rating, with winds of up to 150 miles per hour (240 kph), according to the National Weather Service.
The service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, released its preliminary report on the tornado on Thursday after confirming at least seven tornadoes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The Mullica Hill tornado stretched for 12.6 miles (20 kilometers) over a span of 20 minutes and was as wide as 400 yards (36 meters), the weather service said. It caused mostly tree damage before strengthening and moving northeast through Mullica Hill, where it tore off roofs, demolishing walls, tossed cars and left at least one home completely destroyed, the weather service said.
The remnants of Hurricane Ida stirred up at least one other tornado in Massachusetts.
MORE ON STORM IDA:
— How the remnants of Ida devastated the Northeast more than 1,000 miles away from its landfall
— More than 25 deaths and counting after Ida remnants slam Northeast
— Four days after Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana, many are still without water, power
— Biden to survey Ida’s storm damage in Louisiana on Friday
HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says his state’s death toll from the remnants of Hurricane Ida has risen to 23.
Murphy spoke as his states and others in the U.S. Northeast reckoned Thursday with flooding, tornado damage, and continuing calls for rescue after the storm took residents and officials by surprise. At least 45 people were killed from Maryland to Connecticut.
Murphy said most of the deaths in his state were people who got caught in their vehicles by flooding and overtaken by water.
He said the state has decided not to provide a breakdown of the deaths by municipality at this time.
NEW YORK — The remnants of Hurricane Ida have killed three people in suburban New York City, officials confirmed Thursday, as the death toll from the record-setting downpour continued to rise.
At least one of the victims was a motorist caught on the road in rapidly rising water in Westchester County, said George Latimer, the county executive.
Authorities recovered the body of Samuel Weissmandl, 69, of Mount Kisco, near Route 119 in Elmsford. He had called family members to say he having difficulty in the storm driving from Rockland County. Authorities located his submerged vehicle nearby on an entrance ramp to the Saw Mill River Parkway.
Latimer said more than 200 cars remain abandoned on roadways.
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — The National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, has confirmed six tornadoes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
After conducting surveys of the damage, the federal agency said there were tornadoes Wednesday in Mullica Hill, New Jersey; Princeton, New Jersey; Oxford, Pennsylvania; Fort Washington and Horsham Township, Pennsylvania; Buckingham Township, Pennsylvania; and Edgewater Park, New Jersey, and Bristol, Pennsylvania.
The service said wind speeds ranged from 75 mph (121 kph) to 130 mph (209 kph).
WOODBURY, Conn. — An on-duty state police sergeant in Connecticut has died after his cruiser was swept away in flood waters early Thursday morning in Woodbury.
The 26-year veteran of the department called for help at about 3:30 a.m. Police searched the area with divers, helicopters, boats and drones and found the sergeant in the swollen river later in the morning after daybreak.
First responders performed live-saving measures and he was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Officials did not release the sergeant’s name, saying family notifications were still pending.
Ida’s remnants killed at least 28 people late Wednesday and early Thursday in a record-setting downpour that stunned the U.S. East Coast.
FORT WASHINGTON, Pa. — A tornado hit the suburbs north of Philadelphia with winds of up to 130 miles per hour, the National Weather Service confirmed Thursday.
The twister stretched from Fort Washington to Horsham in Montgomery County and ripped off part of the roof at Upper Dublin High School in Fort Washington.
It was one of several suspected tornadoes that touched down in the Philadelphia suburbs. The governor’s office said three areas of neighboring Bucks County, as well as Chester County, had suspected tornado damage. The weather service was surveying those areas.
Elsewhere in the state, Scranton saw its “wettest day on record,” according to the governor’s office, Harrisburg and Altoona had their third-wettest days, and several waterways in southeastern Pennsylvania set records for flooding.
More than 67,000 customers statewide remained without power Thursday, according to poweroutage.us which tracks outages nationwide.
NEW YORK — At least 12 people have died in New York City in flooding caused by the remnants of Ida.
All but one of the people killed in the flooding so far were in basement apartments. Another man was found in a car on the flooded Grand Central Parkway in Queens.
Police said they found the bodies of three of the people around noon in a flooded basement near Kissena Park in Queens when they responded to a 911 call.
The chief of the NYPD’s community affairs bureau, Jeffrey Maddrey, said officers were going to door-to-door searching for people trapped or killed.
“We are making sure there are no other victims of a similar nature with the surrounding homes,“ the chief said.
Three other people, including two women and a man, were found dead Thursday morning in a basement apartment in another section of Queens.
PHILADELPHIA — The management of a four-building, 941- unit apartment complex near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia have issued an evacuation order for residents citing “deteriorating” conditions.
Water had rushed into the parking garage and outdoor pool areas around the Park Towne Place apartments Thursday. The complex is about 500 feet from the bank of the Schuylkill River.
Representatives from the Philadelphia Red Cross chapter were responding to try to help residents find temporary shelter.
The management said power to the buildings was being shut off and the doors would be locked. They did not say how long they expected the evacuation to last. A phone call to a number listed for the apartments was not answered Thursday.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says extreme storms like Ida are a reminder that the climate crisis is real and the nation needs to be better prepared.
Biden sought to assure residents in the Northeast on Thursday that federal first responders are on the ground to help clean up after Ida’s record rainfall and flooding.
The president spoke to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and planned to also speak with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
He says he made clear to the governors that the Federal Emergency Management Agency “is on the ground.”
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell was the chief federal response officer after Superstorm Sandy walloped the region in 2012. Biden said she knows what to do.
Ida prompted the National Weather Service to issue a first-ever flood emergency for New York City and parts of Long Island.
The remnants of Ida dumped more than 9 inches of rain in parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with New York’s Staten Island coming just shy with 8.9 inches of rain.
Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee all got well over 4 inches, with some of those places seeing more than half a foot of rain.
In New York City, Brooklyn recorded 7.76 inches of rain, midtown Manhattan, 7.49 inches, the Bronx 7.38 inches and Central Park 7.19 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service began warning early Monday about 3 to 6 inches of rain and “considerable flash flooding” from the mid-Atlantic to southern New England from Ida’s remnants.
By Tuesday afternoon meteorologists were warning of “high risk” of excessive rainfall, raising the total expected to 3 to 8 inches of rain.
The weather service warned of “significant and life-threatening flash flooding” in the region especially in cities, starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and repeated the warning through Wednesday afternoon.
NEW YORK — State and city officials are calling Wednesday’s downpour unprecedented and unforeseen. At least nine people died in New York City, many of whom were trapped in flooded basements.
“We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m. last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level of water to the streets of New York,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a briefing in Queens.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said weather projections failed to predict such a cataclysmic downpour. “We’re getting from the very best experts projections that then are made a mockery of in a matter of minutes,” he said.
Hochul said she has spoken with President Joe Biden, who promised federal assistance.
HURLEY, Va. — Search crews have found the body of a person unaccounted for in western Virginia after flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the death late Wednesday as a result of flooding in the Guesses Fork area of Hurley.
Sheriff’s office Administrative Assistant Sharon Thornsbury said authorities had been looking for the person since Monday and everyone has now been accounted for.
Earlier this week, officials said about 20 homes were moved from their foundations and several trailers washed away by the storm. Crews started clearing debris Wednesday.
Officials estimate it will take at least 30 days to restore power in the area and one year for public water to be restored.
PHILADELPHIA — Record flooding along the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania inundated homes and commercial buildings, swamped highways, submerged cars and disrupted rail service in the Philadelphia area.
Valerie Arkoosh, chairperson of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, said three people died in suburban Montgomery County and a tree fell into a woman’s house in Upper Dublin, killing her. Two other people drowned, one in a home and the other in a car.
In a tweet, city officials predicted “historic flooding” on Thursday as river levels continue to rise. The riverside community of Manayunk remained largely under water.
Emergency workers in the county completed more than 450 water rescues. That is three times the previous record. Rescue efforts were continuing throughout the morning.
TRENTON, N.J. — Four people have died in Elizabeth, N.J., overnight as a result of the storm.
Elizabeth spokesperson Kelly Martins says the victims include a 72-year-old woman and her 71-year-old husband along with their 38-year-old son. A 33-year-old woman who was their neighbor also perished. The names of the victims were not released.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday morning toured tornado damage in Mullica Hill in the southern New Jersey Philadelphia suburbs.
Murphy said there were no fatalities from the tornado that left lumber scattered like toothpicks, tore roofs off and collapsed walls. He said there were other deaths in the state but didn’t give details. He said he will speak soon with President Joe Biden and is hopeful to get a major disaster declaration.
ELIZABETH, N.J. — Rescue crews are using drones to fly over the swollen banks of a river in Elizabeth near where four people died when the ground-floor units of their apartment complex flooded overnight.
Mayor J. Christian Bollwage told The Associated Press that the fire department rescued hundreds of people from the complex and the surrounding area. The department’s local offices next to the Oakwood Plaza apartment complex were also inundated with four feet of flood waters.
“We had to drill down from the second floor of some apartments to get to people in units below to rescue them,” Bollwage said. “We rescued hundreds of people from cars or the tops of their cars.”
The Elizabeth River surged during heavy rains overnight, causing catastrophic flooding. The river is usually not larger than a trickle.