Exceptionally heavy rain has paralyzed parts of the American east coast metropolis of New York. Highways and roads turned into lake-like landscapes, and an airport terminal was also flooded and closed. The city administration called on people to stay at home if possible – many subways stopped running or had long delays. Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency.

Deep puddles formed on many streets and sidewalks between the urban canyons of Manhattan as well as in Brooklyn and Queens. Videos also showed buses filling up while driving, and underpasses of bridges like those in Central Park were also impassable. The world-famous Metropolitan Museum, located on the edge of Central Park, wanted to close early due to the storm. According to the forecast, the rain should last at least into the night.

Hochul called the extreme weather a “life-threatening event,” and Mayor Eric Adams warned that the danger was not yet over. New Yorkers’ cellphones vibrated several times Friday because of automated emergency alerts from the National Weather Service. Under the thick cloud cover it remained gloomy even in the middle of the day. A persistent low pressure area that formed from tropical storm Ophelia was responsible for the water masses.

Local and air traffic disrupted

“The service on our network is severely disrupted due to the extreme rain,” said the public transport company MTA. “Please stay home unless you need to travel.”

LaGuardia Airport, where mainly domestic flights depart and arrive, said Terminal A was closed “until further notice.” John F. Kennedy Airport also said the rain was causing disruption to operations.

As much rain in just a few hours as in a month

That morning and mid-morning, in just a few hours, some parts of New York had received more rain than usual in a month.

The rising waters in many places also opened up an unexpected opportunity for an animal at the Central Park Zoo: “A sea lion at the Central Park Zoo was able to swim out of her tank today because the place was flooded due to heavy rains in New York City,” a statement said . The staff of the already closed zoo observed the female as she explored the area – but eventually returned to the familiar surroundings of her pool.

According to information from the New York Times, September was the wettest in the metropolis of eight million in over 140 years – since records began, only 1882 had more precipitation. Many New Yorkers were reminded of the heavy rain that flooded the city two years ago as a result of Hurricane Ida. At that time, at least eleven people died because their basement apartments filled up.