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Gov. Hochul Tours New York City Flood Damage, Calls For New Infrastructure Investments; ‘There Are No More Cataclysmic, Unforeseeable Events’

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday toured the damage in New York City after the remnants of Hurricane Ida pummeled the area with historic rain and flooding late Wednesday night.

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The storm that was blamed for at least nine deaths in Queens.

“We’re still uncovering the true depth of the loss, the human loss,” Hochul said. “Hard to imagine that people simply in their cars, in their homes, in their basements succumbed to the ravages of a brutal storm, and their families must just be in such pain this morning.”


Hochul noted the storm broke the record for most rainfall in New York City in a one-hour span that was just set last week as Hurricane Henri approached the Tri-State Area.

WATCH: Gov. Hochul Tours Deadly Storm’s Damage In New York City, Gives Update On Recovery

“That says to me that there are no more cataclysmic, unforeseeable events. We need to foresee these in advance and be prepared,” said Hochul. “This is the first time we’ve had a flash flood event of this proportion in the City of New York and in the outlying areas. We haven’t experienced this before, but we should expect it the next time.”

The governor called for new investments in infrastructure to protect streets and the subway system from future storms, noting improvements made along the coast following Sandy.

“President Biden called, offered any assistance that the State of New York needs. I told him I’ll take him up on that. What happens next, we’ll be doing on the ground assessments with FEMA teams and our local partners,” said Hochul.

Hochul will also travel to Long Island.

Deadly Floods

At least nine people were killed when the remnants of Hurricane Ida battered New York City with historic rain and flooding late Wednesday night. Remnants from the storm littered the ground Thursday.

“Nine people who were alive at this exact moment yesterday, with no idea that such a horrible fate would befall on them,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Families in mourning right now, we need to be there for them.”

The NYPD said a 45-year-old woman and her 22-year-old son were killed when a building partially collapsed in Jamaica, Queens.

Watch Ali Bauman’s Report 

Neighbors said heavy rains flooded the street in what felt like less than a minute. Cars then drove through the flood, creating waves that crashed into the multi-family home on 1083rd Street.

“I was standing on the porch right here, the wall broke open and the water started gushing down,” said Mahen Singh, who watched the horrific flood reach at least four feet high. “Next thing, I heard a loud scream… It was devastating. I was right out here, I watched the whole thing… Nobody could even help them. They were helpless.”

“To have two people pass awy from this is just devastating. He was a young kid. I used to see him out here playing with his friends. It’s just a sad situation. We can’t believe that happened,” said Jennifer Mooklal.

Seven more deaths were reported in Queens, including a 2-year-old boy in Maspeth. Police said most of the victims died in flooded basements.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said a ninth flood victim was found in the backseat of a car that was involved in a crash on the Grand Central Parkway.

Shortly after midnight Thursday, Gov. Hochul declared a state of emergency. She urged people to stay inside and avoid any unnecessary travel.

Mayor de Blasio also issued a state of emergency for New York City, where a travel ban was in effect for non-emergency vehicles until 5 a.m. Thursday.

“We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” the mayor tweeted.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority service is severely limited after flood waters filled subways and buses, stranding riders on board.

The NYPD said people should to expect delays at major crossings and road closures.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency Wednesday night, saying it only was the second time they had ever issued such a warning and the first time they had issued it in the city.

Stay with CBS2, CBSN New York and for more on the storm’s aftermath. Andrea Grymes and Ali Bauman contributed to this report.

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