Storm heightens a sense of vulnerability to climate change.

After the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused dozens of deaths, Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York said of climate change, “It is not a future threat. It is a current threat.”,

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Storm heightens a sense of vulnerability to climate change.

In Queens on Thursday night in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.Credit…Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Sept. 3, 2021Updated 5:27 a.m. ET

Two days after the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought a sudden and ferocious storm to the Mid-Atlantic region, residents on Friday confronted the fallout from a downpour that killed at least 43 people across four states and illustrated with frightening clarity the threat posed by a changing climate.

In New Jersey, where at least 23 people were killed, many residents died in their cars, trapped by rapidly rising floodwaters and drowned without means of escape. In New York, at least 15 were dead, 13 in New York City, many of them submerged in ground-level apartments that they may have sought out for their affordability.

In Connecticut, a 26-year veteran of the state police force was killed when his car was swept away by floodwaters. And in Pennsylvania, at least four people died in counties close to the swollen Delaware River.

Locations of Deaths Caused by the Storm

More than 40 people were killed by the heavy rains and flooding in the New York region on Wednesday and Thursday. This map shows where deaths are known to have occurred.

Larger circles indicate more than one death in a location.

By Matthew Bloch and Charlie Smart

Destruction was widespread, from a row of homes in southern New Jersey leveled by a tornado that reached maximum wind speeds of 150 miles per hour, to cars submerged in water along the Sprain Brook Parkway in Yonkers.

The damage was all the more harrowing given that it came with relatively little warning from political leaders who were already contending with a pandemic that continues to kill thousands of Americans each week.

Those leaders, from President Biden down to New York’s Democratic nominee for mayor, Eric Adams, expressed a similar sentiment in their reactions to the storm: Climate change is here.

In a speech from the White House, Mr. Biden called the storm “devastating” before pivoting to discussion of the other natural disasters afflicting the United States, including wildfires in the West and the damage inflicted by Hurricane Ida in the South.

“This destruction is everywhere,” he said. “It’s a matter of life and death and we’re all in this together. This is one of the great challenges of our time.”

Ida’s remnants brought historic hourly rainfall to New York and New Jersey.

Each bar represents one recorded hour of precipitation in Newark.

Sept. 1, 2021

Between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., Ida dropped a record 3.24 inches of rain in Newark — nearly an inch more rain than the previous hourly record in 2006.

3 inches per hour

July 21, 2006

Severe thunderstorms led to a one-hour precipitation total of 2.35 inches between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

2

Sept. 1, 2021

Ida also produced the seventh-highest hourly rainfall, dropping 1.82 inches between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

1

1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

2015

2020

Sept. 1, 2021

Between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., Ida dropped a record 3.24 inches of rain in Newark — nearly an inch more rain than the previous hourly record in 2006.

3 inches per hour

July 21, 2006

Severe thunderstorms led to a one-hour precipitation total of 2.35 inches between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

2

Sept. 1, 2021

Ida also produced the seventh-highest hourly rainfall, dropping 1.82 inches between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

1

1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

2015

2020

Sept. 1, 2021

3.24 inches between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

3 inches per hour

July 21, 2006

2.35 inches between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

2

Sept. 1, 2021

1.82 inches between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

1

1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

2020

Note: The totals are reported for hourly intervals as defined by METAR, which end on the 53rd or 54th minute of the hour. For example, an hour noted as starting at 3 p.m. actually starts around 2:53 p.m. Aatish Bhatia contributed analysis.

Source: Iowa State University I.E.M. Computed Hourly Precipitation Totals

By Charlie Smart

Gov. Kathy C. Hochul of New York, who assumed office a little more than a week before the storm hit, offered a similar message.

“It is not a future threat,” she said of climate change. “It is a current threat.”

And Mr. Adams, who is likely to become New York City’s next mayor, mixed his acknowledgment of the threat of the climate crisis with a sentiment that many New Yorkers shared, days after the rain stopped.

“I have never witnessed something like this,” he said.

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