Torrential downpours after a week of mostly steady rainfall that brought flash flooding to New York City on Friday were a consequence of climate change and likely reflect a “new normal,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Saturday.
“Of course, we know, this is result of climate change. This is unfortunately what we have to expect as the new normal,” Hochul said in an address.
Almost eight inches (20 cm) of rain fell in some parts of the most populous city in the U.S., enough to enable a sea lion at Central Park Zoo to swim briefly out of the confines of her pool enclosure.
Hochul warned of “life-threatening” floods and declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley.
She hailed the response of authorities and said on Saturday that no fatalities were reported despite the heavy rain.
Flooding had caused major disruptions to New York’s subway system and the Metro North commuter rail service, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, which operates both. Some subway lines were suspended entirely, and many stations were closed. Some bus routes slowed to a crawl, trapping riders for hours. Officials warned some New Yorkers to avoid traveling unless they were fleeing a flooded area.