New York City faces flash flooding risk as torrential downpours approach

Flooding caused by rains from Hurricane Ida is seen in New York City's Central Park on Sept 2, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - New York City commuters face a blustery, soaked-to-the-skin trek to work on Tuesday (Oct 26) as a powerful coastal storm unwinds across the Northeast.

Rain began shortly after 9pm on Monday and will intensify early on Tuesday, peaking in the daylight hours, said Mr Scott Kaplan, a meteorologist with Hometown Forecast Services, which provides outlooks for Bloomberg Radio.

"The afternoon commute won't be pretty but the morning one will be the worst of the two,'' Mr Kaplan said. "It looks like it is going to be very wet with the heaviest rain coming between 4am and noon, give or take an hour or so.''

A flash flood watch is in place from New Jersey to Massachusetts and New York City has issued a travel advisory from late Monday to Tuesday. Rain could fall at half an inch to an inch (1.3cm to 2.5cm) per hour at its most intense, said Mr James Tomasini, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, New York.

Along with the rain, New York's five boroughs will be swept by gusty winds of up to 30 miles per hour, but the heaviest gales will cross Long Island into southern New England, where wind advisories and high-wind watches are in place.

In New York, residents and officials are still on edge because of the extreme flooding that happened in early September when the remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through the region, killing about a dozen people living in underground apartments and buckling the city's transit system briefly.

As the storm approached, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency for much of the state, including New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley.

"We said after the shock of Hurricane Ida that we are going to be changing all the ways we alert the people of the city," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Monday briefing. "Even though this doesn't seem like a major event, we're being hypervigilant right now."

For New York, the worst of the rain should be well to the east of the city by Wednesday.

"They may see some sunshine by Wednesday afternoon,'' Mr Kaplan said.

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