Biden to visit NYC, NJ to survey Ida storm damage

President Joe Biden will travel to New Jersey and New York City to survey storm damage caused by Hurricane Ida. 

Biden will visit Manville, New Jersey, and Queens, New York on Tuesday, September 7 to see the extent of the damage.

Saturday afternoon, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that the state's death toll from Ida had risen to 27. Another 11 people died in New York City as a result of flooding caused by Hurricane Ida's remnants. 

Flood-stricken families and business owners across the Northeast spent the weekend hauling waterlogged belongings to the curb as cleanup from storm moves into high gear.

Ida blew ashore in Louisiana on Sunday tied as the fifth-strongest storm to ever hit the U.S. mainland, then moved north with rain that overwhelmed urban drainage systems.

The mud-caked sidewalks of Cranford, New Jersey, were lined with the detritus of the suburban dream: household items and furnishings that once made a cozy home reduced to rubbish by the sudden storm waters that swamped homes, cars and businesses and killed at least 50 people in six Eastern states.

This community along the normally placid Rahway River experienced major flooding when Ida arrived in the Northeast with furious rainfall that topped 8 inches (20 centimeters) in places Wednesday and Thursday.

A record 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) poured down in a single hour in New York City, where by Thursday afternoon, nearly 7 1/2 inches (19 centimeters) had fallen, according to the National Weather Service.

In response, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will create a new evacuation plan and alert system to avoid similar future tragedies. 

On Saturday, the city opened service centers in each of the five boroughs to connect people with housing, food and mental health counseling. Seventy-seven people displaced by the storm were being housed in hotels, Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Christina Farrell said.

After touring a flood-wrecked apartment complex on the banks of the Raritan River on Saturday in Piscataway, Gov. Murphy warned residents about the potentially harmful contaminants left behind.

"You have to assume the worst," he said. "If you’re in there, you want to have windows and doors open."

Abid Mian, whose unit in the apartment complex was ruined by 5 feet (1.5 meters) of flood waters that necessitated his family’s rescue by boat, is considering moving.

"Even on a good day, before this, I would sometimes smell fumes coming up from the river, or a really bad stink. This is the third this time this has happened in the last 10 years." he said.

The complex was littered with ruined cars, some with their doors and hoods splayed open in a futile effort to dry them; they were coated with mud and silt throughout their interiors. Two cars had been swept from the parking lot onto the banks of the river, and a tennis court was destroyed. Large trash receptacles were being brought to the complex to start hauling away the debris Saturday.

In Connecticut, funeral arrangements were set for State Police Sgt. Brian Mohl, who was swept away with his vehicle while on duty early Thursday in Woodbury. A wake for Mohl is scheduled for Sept. 8 in Hartford, where the funeral will be held Sept. 9.

Floodwaters and a falling tree also took lives in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, where at least 27 people perished, the most of any state. Most drowned after their vehicles were caught in flash floods.

Authorities continued searching for two New Jersey friends, Nidhi Rana, 18, and Ayush Rana, 21, missing since Wednesday after their car was caught up in the flood-engorged Passaic River.

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