New York City’s heavy rain is ‘new normal’ due to climate change, governor says


By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – Torrential downpours after a week of mostly steady rainfall that brought flash flooding to New York City on Friday was an impact of climate change and likely reflects a “new normal,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Saturday.

“Of course, we know, this is result of climate change. This is unfortunately what we have to expect as the new normal,” Hochul said in an address.

Almost eight inches (20 cm) of rain fell in some parts of the most populous city in the U.S., enough to enable a sea lion at Central Park Zoo to swim briefly out of the confines of her pool enclosure.

Another few inches could fall in the region before the storm system pushed out to sea later on Friday, forecasters said.

Hochul warned of “life-threatening” floods and declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley.

She hailed the response of authorities and said on Saturday that no fatalities were reported despite the heavy rain.

Flooding had caused major disruptions to New York’s subway system and the Metro North commuter rail service, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, which operates both. Some subway lines were suspended entirely, and many stations were closed. Some bus routes slowed to a crawl, trapping riders for hours. Officials warned some New Yorkers to avoid traveling unless they were fleeing a flooded area.

Hochul said on Saturday a state of emergency, which allows faster allocation of resources to deal with a crisis, will remain in effect for the next six days.

The New York governor added she spoke to the White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and said they were prepared to support a federal emergency declaration of disaster if necessary.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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