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Hochul: Climate Change To Blame As Long Island, Connecticut Feel Harsh Effects Of Ida

New York Governor Kathy Hochul met with transit officials and local elected officials at the Long Island Railroad station in Great Neck on September 2, 2021.
Courtesy of Office Of Governor Kathy Hochul
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul met with transit officials and local elected officials at the Long Island Railroad station in Great Neck on September 2, 2021.

Heavy rainfall and flash floods from the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought the Long Island Railroad to a standstill, while parts of Connecticut saw near-record rainfall and widespread outages. New York Governor Kathy Hochul met with local officials at the Great Neck train station on Long Island.

She said the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought record amounts of rainfall to southern New York.

“People have been warning for decades that the effect of climate change and what it would do to our communities. It's happening right now. It is not a future threat. It is a current situation and it is the status quo,” Hochul said.

Hochul said at higher elevations, the drainage system could not withstand several inches of rain per hour. That caused flash floods and power outages.

She said the state needs more federal funds to build up drainage infrastructure.

A power outage brought the Metro North Railroad system to a halt after the region was battered with heavy rains and flash floods. Work is still underway to restore train service.

MTA Acting Chairman Janno Lieber said thousands of workers have been deployed to perform rail inspections and get train service restored as quickly as possible.

He said flash floods and power outages caused service suspensions across Metro North, the Long Island Railroad and the New York City subway system.

“We've done a lot for coastal resiliency. How are we going to start to deal with this flash flooding problem, this problem that has emerged in the era of climate change, we're going to have these extreme weather events that create flooding, even at much higher elevations,” Lieber said.

Lieber said street drainage infrastructure needs upgrades to handle several inches of rain per hour.

In Connecticut, Eversource reports about 32,000 people lost power during and after the storm, into Thursday morning. Mitch Gross is with Eversource.

“Our crews are dealing with a number of challenges. Blocked roads, washed out roads in some cases. There are still some flooding issues in some communities.”

Norwalk reported more than 7 inches of rain -- and nearly as much fell in Stamford, Greenwich and other towns along the Fairfield County shoreline. Parts of Interstate 95 flooded overnight near Bridgeport and White Plains, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation.