At least nine people are feared dead after relentless rainfall from tropical storm Ida continued into the early hours of Thursday and drenched the New York area, leaving major roads and subway stations submerged under water.
The governors of New York and New Jersey were forced to declare a state of emergency, with New York City (NYC) mayor Bill de Blasio doing the same and labelling Ida an “historic weather event”.
At least 3in (8cm) of rain fell in just one hour in New York’s Central Park, according to local media.
Police in NYC reported seven deaths, including a 50-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and a 2-year-old boy who were found unconscious and unresponsive late on Wednesday inside a home. They were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. A further two deaths occurred in New Jersey, NBC reports.
Almost all subway lines in NYC and New Jersey Transit rail services were suspended late on Wednesday, while non-emergency vehicles were banned from the streets until 5am on Thursday due to the weather.
Flash-flood emergencies have also been issued by the National Weather Service, stretching from just west of Philadelphia to northern New Jersey.
New York’s FDR Drive, a major road on the east side of Manhattan, and the Bronx River Parkway were completely flooded by Wednesday evening.
Firefighters rescued a man from a car stuck in deep floodwaters on the parkway. Video shot by New York TV station WABC-TV showed firemen carrying a man from his vehicle to dry ground after his SUV became one of many vehicles stuck in water.
At least one person was killed in flash flooding that inundated the New Jersey city of Passaic, mayor Hector Lora told CNN, who reported that the vehicle the man was travelling in was swept away by the water, causing firefighters to be swept under the vehicle.
Mr Lora said the body of a man in his seventies was eventually retrieved from floodwaters.
NBC New York reported that one more person had died in New Jersey and seven had died in New York City. The news station also said people has been trapped in their basements as the storm sent water surging through the city.
Videos posted to social media show cars on streets almost entirely covered by water, while another shows the extent of flooding in one NYC alleyway which a man appeared to have taken advantage of by setting up an inflatable lilo.
Storm damage from Ida astounded officials three days after the powerful hurricane pounded southern Louisiana, as reconnaissance flights revealed entire communities devastated by wind and floods.
A subway station that had earlier flooded remains closed after a state of emergency was declared in New York
At least nine homes were destroyed in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, Philadelphia’s NBC10 television station reported.
New Jersey’s Newark Liberty Airport suspended all flight activity late on Wednesday after experiencing “severe flooding” but later resumed “limited flight operations” close to midnight.
New York City also experienced flooding, with social media images showing water gushing over subway platforms and trains.
First responders evacuated people from the subway system, the chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in a statement.