‘It’s just unbelievable:’ Former Rochester resident shares experience of Ida hitting Brooklyn

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The tri-state area felt the deadly aftermath of Hurricane Ida with record rainfall, flash flooding, and power outages. The storm dumped over 9 inches of rain in parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and nearly as much on New York City’s Staten Island.

“It was pouring for hours and hours," Ashleigh Carter, a former Rochesterian who now lives in Brooklyn, said. "It never slowed to a drizzle, it was just coming down like crazy."

Carter says it was obvious early on this was not a normal rainstorm.

“I was supposed to go to a workout class, and I was like there’s no way I can go to this," she said.

Overnight and into the early hours Thursday, amazing videos captured mass transit in New York City shut down, and first responders rescuing hundreds of people.

“Some of the subway stations were flooding up to people’s waists," Carter told News10NBC. "It’s just unbelievable. The infrastructure isn’t built to handle it."

Thursday morning, New York state and city officials assessed the damaged and vowed to make changes to the city’s infrastructure.

“The water rushes down, not just through the highways, but also finds its way to penetrate our subway system, and as a result, what happened yesterday [Wednesday], trains were shut down," Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "People were stranded. The fear that they must have experienced when this occurred I cannot imagine, and I don’t want this to happen again."

Alongside Hochul, Senator Chuck Schumer pledged his support while also pushing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

“We will fight and make New York declared a disaster area. I’ve spoken to the White House as well, and that will mean money for homeowners and individuals, money for small businesses that may have been lost,” Schumer said.

For New Yorkers like Carter who relies on the subway for transportation, she says the remnants of Hurricane Ida are a reminder that these improvements cannot wait.

“It really hurt the subway system, and that’s been a major issue in New York since Hurricane Sandy," Carter said. "Every time we get hammered with extreme weather, or a hurricane comes up here, it completely upends the subway system."

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), several subway lines only have partial service. MTA officials say they are conducting inspections and working to get the systems back up and running.

As of Thursday night, at least 46 people along the East Coast have died due to the storm.

At least 23 people died in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said. At least 13 people were killed in New York City, police said, 11 of them in flooded basement apartments. Suburban Westchester County reported three deaths.

Officials said at least five people died in Pennsylvania, including one killed by a falling tree and another who drowned in his car after helping his wife to escape. A Connecticut state police sergeant, Brian Mohl, perished after his cruiser was swept away. Another death was reported in Maryland.