Tornadoes hit New Jersey, floods swamp Brooklyn and Philadelphia — welcome to the brutal reality of climate change
After Hurricane Ida ravaged Louisiana and made its way north, meteorologists downgraded it to a "tropical storm." But when the remnants of Ida pounded the Northeastern Corridor on Wednesday, September 1, they inflicted considerable damage — from tornados in New Jersey to major flooding in New York City and Philadelphia. And the widespread damage that Ida caused serves as yet another reminder of the brutal reality of climate change.
The damage from Ida in the Northeastern U.S. isn't as severe as what Louisiana residents have suffered. Some Louisiana residents may be without electricity for weeks, whereas most residents of NYC and Philly still had electricity on September 2. Nonetheless, at least 18 people in the Northeastern U.S. were killed by the remnants of Ida, according to the Daily Beast — including nine in New York City. Tornado warnings were posted in the Philly suburbs on September 1; the New York City subway was so badly flooded that it had to be shut down; and major streets in Queens and Brooklyn looked like rivers.
In Center City Philadelphia, the Art Museum area near the Schuylkill River and 30th Street Station (Philly's equivalent of Penn Station) suffered severe flooding. Residents of high-rise condo buildings and apartment complexes were staying inside because the streets outside were dangerously flooded. Philly's Vine Street Expressway was underwater, and the Schuylkill was expected to reach "major flood stage," according to Channel 6 (Philly's ABC affiliate).
LIVE: #PHILADELPHIA FLOODING UPDATE l Officials are providing an update after historic flooding has submerged parts… https://t.co/f30eFDXeFH— CBS Philly (@CBS Philly) 1630595740.0
Just look at what the flooding Schuylkill River is doing to I-76 and I-676 in Philadelphia. Avoid driving if you do… https://t.co/4tr2jDcvlr— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBC10 Philadelphia) 1630581415.0
Video of Mullica Hill, NJ tornado aftermath taken by my son @ShaneMartrich who is a 3rd year met student at Millers… https://t.co/q9zzTfEPXE— Bobby Martrich | EPAWA Meteorologist ☈ (@Bobby Martrich | EPAWA Meteorologist ☈) 1630538891.0
Stunning footage of a large #tornado from New Jersey this evening! Dangerous tornadoes were spotted in multiple l… https://t.co/P55kXYntMl— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) 1630544401.0
At a September 2 news briefing, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel explained, "We are still doing water rescues across the city; we've done that for the past 15 hours now continually. We know that the flooding reached levels that have not been seen in 100 years. And potentially, this will be a record-breaking flood."
In Queens, two people living in a basement apartment drowned; the water came in so fast that they were unable to get out in time. Some meteorologists in Philly advised residents of areas that had received tornado warnings to stay away from windows and possibly take shelter in their basements, but there was a caveat: basements can become deadly when they fill up with water in a hurry.
Unprecedented flooding in #Jamaica Queens causes side of home to cave in. Two people died inside the basement apar… https://t.co/lc7z8chtEQ— Pei-Sze Cheng (@Pei-Sze Cheng) 1630567308.0
This is what Park Slope, Brooklyn looked like on September 1:
Queens Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in Queens, also looked like a river:
Hero bus driver managed to get us safely through the 3-4 feet of rain coursing down the boulevard, but only seemed… https://t.co/shK9x6Ddd2— Joe English (@Joe English) 1630549308.0
Ida wasn't the first severe weather event that the Northeastern U.S. has suffered this summer. In fact, it came not long after the flooding that Tropical Storm Henri caused in parts of New Jersey.
Far-right media pundits will insist that climate change has nothing to do with all the disasters and severe weather events that have occurred this summer, from flooding in Germany to droughts and wildfires in the western U.S. But far-right climate change deniers are the same anti-science extremists who claim that COVID-19 is a hoax despite the fact that, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, it has killed more than 4.5 million people worldwide.
David Robinson, a New Jersey-based climatologist and a professor at Rutgers University, has a dire warning about all the severe weather that has occurred in his part of the U.S. during the Summer of 2021: This is what climate change looks like.
Robinson told NorthJersey.com, "You start packing it all together, and it resembles what theory tells us: that when the atmosphere gets warmer and more humid, these events will happen."
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, after seeing the damage that Henri had inflicted in his state, warned that thanks to climate change, Americans should get ready for more severe weather events.
"I think not just New Jersey but every state, every country at this point, is going to have to tune up the playbook, because we're in uncharted waters," Murphy stressed. "It's not just flooding. It's all the stuff that goes with those intense storms, and we're going to see more of this and not less of it."
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