Hurricane Ida has continued to wreak havoc across the country. After it devastated New Orleans and its surrounding areas—which is still hurting from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, Ida slammed the Northeast on Wednesday with a combo of tornadoes, torrential rainfall, and massive flooding, especially throughout the Tri-State area.
Ida has become one of the deadliest storms on record in the state of New Jersey with at least 25 deaths, the New York Times reports.
Due to the severe flooding throughout the state, a third of the deaths were people who drowned as they were trapped in their vehicles or first floor apartments. In addition to the lives that were lost, at least six people are reported missing.
Ida is the most powerful storm to touch down upon New Jersey since Hurricane Sandy devastated the Garden State in October of 2012. Sandy accounted for the highest death toll of any storm in the history of the state with 40 fatalities.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Gov. Phil Murphy addressed the catastrophic aftermath of Ida.
“All of these deaths are related directly or indirectly to flooding and water—either in cars or homes,” he said. “It’s an absolute tragedy.”
“We’re still not out of the woods,” he continued. “We still have a lot of damage that we’re dealing with, we still have floodwaters that are significantly higher than normal (and) it may be a long road.”
Eight to 11 inches of rain fell in a few hours late Wednesday afternoon into early Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Ida ravaged huge areas of the state and Murphy declared a state of emergency for all 21 counties by Thursday morning.
On Friday, Murphy implored residents to remain off the dangerous roads, especially near bodies of water that had not yet crested.
“Many motorists have been caught by surprise that the depth of the water on a road that they thought they knew—not to mention the swiftness of the current,” he explained. “You can easily be swept away or trapped and sadly, we have many examples of just that.”
According to the state’s utility board, power had been restored to 80,000 of the more than 92,000 households that lost power during the storm on Friday.
Despite the tumultuous storm and irreplaceable loss of life, Murphy has vowed to deploy all of the state’s resources in preparation for a long road to recovery.
“We mourn the loss of those lives,” he said. “This was going to be a very significant, historic rainstorm. We’re going to clean up and we’re going to stay together.”
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