By Friday afternoon, the sky over Manhattan had calmed and the rain had slowed to a small drizzle. But Gov. Kathy Hochul urged New Yorkers not to be fooled by the reprieve, and to continue exercising caution.
“We’re still in the throes of it,” she said in an interview on CNN. “My biggest concern right now is that people will see a lull in the rain and people will go out in their vehicles.”
Later at a news conference, the governor cautioned against driving in any part of the city. The rain was unpredictable, she said, and it wasn’t entirely clear what areas would be hardest hit overnight.
A flood watch remains in effect through late tonight, with the possibility of “considerable and life threatening” flash flooding in New York City, as well as surrounding areas, including parts of southern Connecticut, northeastern New Jersey and Long Island, according to the National Weather Service.
Through the night, the storm is expected to shift eastward to Long Island, and the M.T.A. cautioned Long Island Railroad riders to expect cancellations and delays during the evening commute.
Ms. Hochul said at a news conference that Westchester County was starting to experience serious rain, expanding the storm’s scope beyond the five boroughs and Long Island. New York was on track to see 10 inches of rainfall over 24 hours; the last time the area had this much rain was in 1955, and that was over a two-day period, she said, describing the rainfall as “Hurricane Ida-level waters.”
By the end of the day, New York City will have received as much rain as it usually does over a three-month span, said Janno Lieber, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Mayor Eric Adams said in an interview with CBS News around 5 p.m. that no fatalities had been reported.
The severity of the storm depended not only on the volume of rainfall, but also on how long it lingered over the region. The storm was “slow moving,” according to the National Weather Service, making flooding more likely. By Friday evening, the Bronx River had reached 4.9 feet, and was at risk of breaching its banks.
“It is not finished yet — there is more rain on the way,” Ms. Hochul said at the news conference. “The loss of life comes when people get in their vehicles.”