Brooklyn Dem chief works ‘round the clock’ in historic flash flood

A first responder wades through floodwaters after the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida brought drenching rain, flash floods and tornadoes to parts of the northeast in Mamaroneck, New York, U.S., Sept. 2, 2021.
REUTERS/Mike Segar

Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn said Wednesday night that she was working “around the clock” as Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the city under a state of emergency due to “an historic weather event.”

“My heart goes out to everyone who has been impacted by the flash flood tonight, and I will be working around the clock to see to it that those in my district who are experiencing difficulties, resulting from the flood, receive the help they need immediately,” said Bichotte Hermelyn, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, in a message to constituents.

“A crisis of this proportion demands all our resources,” added the representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. “It is clear, from the multitude of natural disasters occurring across the world and in our backyard, that climate change is here, and it’s real.

“We must take action immediately, and we must make a plan to step up environmental protections drastically,” continued Bichotte Hermelyn, urging constituents to make safety their top priority.

“Stay off the streets tonight, and let our first responders and emergency services get their work done,” she appealed. “If you’re thinking of going outside, don’t. Stay off the subways, stay off the roads. Don’t drive into these heavy waters.”

Flash flood warning in Brooklyn and Queens remained in effect until 3:00 am on Thursday, with about 5,300 customers without power.

The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) also issued a “ground stop” at all three New York City-area airports.

The declaration was the first-ever flash flood emergency in New York City.

At about 11:30 pm, on Wednesday, de Blasio said, in Executive Order 230, that “the public safety is imperiled by the remnants of Hurricane Ida that is expected to interrupt the flow of traffic, restrict the operation of emergency vehicles, and impede the delivery of essential goods and services.”

He said that “the public safety is imperiled by a flash flood emergency that has flooded roads, impacted mass transit and stranded motorists,” and that “it is necessary to restrict vehicular traffic as provided herein in order to protect life and property.”

The mayor said the following vehicles may operate on city streets and highways while the state of emergency remains in effect: MTA buses, Access-a-Ride vehicles, and other vehicles used for purposes of any federal, state or local government agency, including vehicles operated by contractors hired by any government agency for the purpose of responding to this emergency; vehicles used for the purposes of any private agency, organization or group organized, and functioning for the purpose of providing fire, medical, ambulance, rescue, housing, food or other services directed toward relieving human suffering, injury or loss of life or damage to property as a result of an emergency, including non-profit and governmentally-supported organizations.

Other vehicles include those used to deliver food, medical supplies or fuel; vehicles for utility companies to perform emergency repairs; vehicles used to transport persons employed in pharmacies, grocery stores (including all food and beverage stores), convenience stores, gas stations, laundromats, news media, restaurants/bars, hotels, and other places of accommodation, and hardware stores, to and from their places of employment; vehicles used to transport persons to hospitals or other medical facilities for medical care; other select commercial vehicles with prior approval of the city; and any other vehicles used to transport persons employed to perform any of the services described in this section to and from their places of employment.

De Blasio warned that any vehicle found to be blocking roadways will be subject to towing.

“This order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect for three days, unless extended or sooner revoked,” he said.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida barreled into the region with furious, wind-driven rain that led to at least eight deaths and all but halted subway service, destroyed homes in New Jersey and resulted in a tornado warning for the Bronx, reported to the New York Times.

It said the rain on Wednesday night — 3.1 inches in Central Park in an hour — shattered a record set only last week, when 1.94 inches of rain fell in the park during Tropical Storm Henri.

With the National Weather Service issuing a flash flood emergency in New York City for the first time, at least eight deaths were reported from the flooding, seven in New York City and one in Passaic, N.J., according to the Times.

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