Heavy rain leads to major flooding, closed roadways in Northeast

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Heavy rain spawned extreme flooding in New York’s Hudson Valley that killed at least one person, swamped roadways and forced road closures on Sunday night, as much of the rest of the Northeast U.S. prepared for a major storm.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings across parts of southeastern New York, describing it as “life-threatening,” as well as warnings in northeastern New Jersey.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus told CBS New York a woman in her mid-30s and her dog were swept away by floodwaters while she was evacuating her house in Highland Falls. The woman was later found dead. Neuhaus said the dog was found safe and taken in by a neighbor.  

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted that 13,000 homes had lost power by 9:30 p.m.

The rains have hit some parts of the state harder than others, but officials said communities to the east of the state should brace for torrential rains and possible flash flooding.

Officials urged residents in the line of the storm to stay off the roads.

“The amount of water is extraordinary and it’s still a very dangerous situation,” Hochul said.

“We’ll get through this,” the governor said, but added that “it’s going to be a rough night.”

The governor declared a state of emergency just after 9 p.m. Sunday for Orange County, about 60 miles north of New York City, where about 8 inches of rain poured down. The state of emergency was expanded to Ontario County shortly before 11 p.m. 

“We are in close communication with local officials and state agencies are participating in search and rescue efforts,” she said.

The state deployed five swift-water rescue teams and a high-axle vehicle to help with rescues in flooded areas.

Some video posted on social media showed the extent of flooding, with streams of brown-colored torrents rushing right next to homes.

Showers and thunderstorms were also expected in New York City Sunday night and may lead to flash flooding, the National Weather Service New York tweeted.

The city’s emergency notification system tweeted that the heavy rain could cause “life-threatening flooding to basements” and instructed residents to “prepare now to move to higher ground if needed.”

State Route 9W was flooded, and the Palisades Interstate Parkway became so drenched that parts of it were closed, the New York State Police said in a statement. The police asked the public to avoid the parkway.

Parts of the Metro-North train service were expected to be suspended in both directions through Monday because of flooding and downed trees, CBS New York reported. Amtrak train service between Albany and New York City was also suspended because of the weather, according to CBS New York.

More than 1,000 flights scheduled to fly into or out of Laguardia, John F. Kennedy or Newark airports had been canceled as of Sunday night, according to FlightAware.

Cedar Pond Brook in Stony Point was flowing over the road and into private properties, according to WABC.

NWS said in a tweet that by Monday, “a considerable flood threat with a high risk of excessive rainfall is expected across much of New England.” Intense rain may be especially strong in Vermont and northeastern New York.

“This is a very rare event not only for the North Country but for the U.S. as a whole,” NWS Burlington tweeted. “Considerable to catastrophic flash flooding is likely to occur over portions of our forecast area through Monday.”

In Pennsylvania, at least 39 people in the city of Reading were displaced, CBS Philadelphia reported

Flooding also shut down the eastbound lanes on a stretch of Interstate-76 from about 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Norfolk, Connecticut, Emergency Management said multiple roadways were closed after the town received five inches of rain in 90 minutes.

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