New York Governor warns of climate change impact as torrential rainfall causes flooding

New York Governor Kathy Hochul

1st October 2023 – (New York) New York Governor Kathy Hochul attributed the torrential downpours and flash flooding that hit New York City on Friday to the effects of climate change, emphasising that it reflects a “new normal.” In an address, Hochul stated that these extreme weather events are unfortunately what can be expected as a result of climate change.

The city experienced nearly 20cm of rainfall in certain areas, leading to unusual scenes such as a sea lion briefly swimming beyond its pool enclosure at Central Park Zoo. Forecasters predicted the possibility of additional rainfall before the storm system moved away later in the day.

Recognizing the severity of the situation, Hochul declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley, cautioning about the “life-threatening” floods. Despite the heavy rain, Hochul commended the response of authorities and reported no fatalities.

The flooding severely disrupted New York’s subway system and the Metro North commuter rail service, with major delays and suspensions on several lines. Many stations were closed, and some bus routes were significantly affected, leaving passengers stranded for hours. Officials advised residents to avoid unnecessary travel, particularly in flooded areas.

Governor Hochul confirmed that the state of emergency would remain in effect for the next six days, enabling swift resource allocation to address the crisis. She also stated that she had been in contact with the White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who expressed readiness to provide federal support through an emergency declaration if needed.