September 2, 2021
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Directs State Agencies to Deploy Additional Assets Downstate to Assist Local Governments in Wake of Historic Storm and Flooding Event

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Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Directs State Agencies to Deploy Additional Assets Downstate to Assist Local Governments in Wake of Historic Storm and Flooding Event
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Region in State of Emergency After Remnants of Hurricane Ida Pummel Hudson Valley, NYC Metro and Long Island Areas with More than Eight Inches of Rain, Flash Floods, Power Outages and Impacts to Transportation Systems

Numerous State Highways Remain Closed in New York City and Hudson Valley Regions; MTA Service Currently Suspended or Limited due to Heavy Rainfall and Flooding

State Fire, State Police, State Park Police, DEC Participated in Approximately 100 Rescues in Rockland and Westchester Counties

Read Executive Order Here

Governor Hochul: "We're here today because of a devastating storm that shocked the people of this city. And even the morning after, we're still uncovering the true depth of the loss. The human loss, which is hard to imagine, that people simply in their cars, in their homes, in their basements, succumb to the ravages of a brutal storm, and their families must just be in such pain this morning. So to all of them, we offer our love, our condolences and our wishes for their healing. And we'll be there to support them."

Hochul: "Moments ago, I was on the phone with the White House. President Biden called, offered any assistance, he repeated, any assistance that the State of New York needs. I told him we'll take him up on that, and what happens, next, we'll be doing on-the-ground assessments of the damage with the FEMA teams, our local partners, and making sure we get a true accounting of the loss, but he promised that he'll guarantee, he said, I guaranteed you, I will approve any declaration you need, emergency declaration, so we can get the money flowing to New York, to our municipalities, to our cities, to our citizens, the businesses affected and certainly to the homeowners."

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul visited areas impacted by the storm and directed additional State agency assets to the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island regions to help communities recover after the remnants of Hurricane Ida passed through the Downstate area Wednesday night and delivered historic rainfall totals, sparking flash floods, power outages and life-threatening conditions in several areas. Multiple roadways across New York City, Long Island and the lower Mid-Hudson were flooded and impassible at times, with people rescued from vehicles trapped in floodwaters. Public transit in New York City was brought to a standstill as trains and subways were affected by flooding in several locations overnight. Rainfall rates of up to three inches per hour, the highest ever recorded by the NYS Mesonet, were experienced across multiple locations, with rainfall totals ultimately exceeding eight inches in Central Park and more than six inches at LaGuardia Airport.

New York State swift water rescue crews worked through the night along with local first responders to rescue and evacuate New Yorkers in need. State Fire, State Police and the Department of Environmental Conservation alone participated in approximately 100 rescues in Rockland and Westchester counties. If a homeowner is flooded out of home, people in need of shelter will be supported by the Red Cross or community-based shelters.

VIDEO of the Governor's remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here

PHOTOS will be available on the Governor's Flickr page

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below: 

Good morning. I want to thank the individuals who've joined us here this morning. Senator Schumer, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congressman Meeks, our Borough President Donovan Richards, as well as Borough President Adams. We're here today because of a devastating storm that shocked the people of this city. And even the morning after, we're still uncovering the true depth of the loss. The human loss, which is hard to imagine, that people simply in their cars, in their homes, in their basements, succumb to the ravages of a brutal storm, and their families must just be in such pain this morning. So to all of them, we offer our love, our condolences and our wishes for their healing. And we'll be there to support them.

And this is all precipitated by last night's record-shattering rainfall. And what's so fascinating is that the records that were broken in Central Park, for example, 3.15 inches in one hour, it broke a record literally set one week earlier. That says to me that there are no more cataclysmic, unforeseeable events. We need it foresee these in advance and be prepared. And we learned a lot of lessons. From Sandy, we built back resiliency, our coastal shorelines are in much better shape than they had been, but where we have a vulnerability is in our streets, with the higher elevations now, where the flash floods, which were unknown before, 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. And that means we have to continue investments in infrastructure, working in partnership with our federal government and support from Senator Schumer and President Biden. We're working so hard, so hard, to get the infrastructure dollars back to our state so we can build this up, working in partnership with the Mayor and other officials to work collaboratively and get this done so we can take care of the drainage shortcomings in our streets because when the streets get flooded, what happens next?

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, trains were shut down. 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. So what we're doing yesterday in preparation, we directed all of our state resources to be prepared. Our DOT, Thruway Authority, MTA, Port Authority, all of our first responders embedded with the local teams here and throughout Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland counties, all of those have suffered some form of loss. We wanted to make sure our crews were on the ground. We also have pumping systems in place taking care of the subways, literally removing the water physically. 

And I want to thank, first of all, everyone who was involved last night. But our transit workers are heroes, especially all the bus operators who had to be deployed to literally take people from stations to where they needed to go. So it's an extraordinary rescue operation, just a few short hours ago. 

Moments ago, I was on the phone with the White House. President Biden called, offered any assistance, he repeated, any assistance that the State of New York needs. I told him we'll take him up on that, and what happens, next, we'll be doing on-the-ground assessments of the damage with the FEMA teams, our local partners, and making sure we get a true accounting of the loss, but he promised that he'll guarantee, he said, I guaranteed you, I will approve any declaration you need, emergency declaration, so we can get the money flowing to New York, to our municipalities, to our cities, to our citizens, the businesses affected and certainly to the homeowners.

And also with respect to the homeowners who have experience the flooding in their own basements, I've directed the Department of Financial Services to be in contact immediately with our insurance providers so they get people on the ground, show up in these neighborhoods, get your claims adjusters, let them start filing to get reimbursed for the damages. We have mobile units on the ground to this end as well.

So right now we still have limited services on the subway. I'll be heading out to Long Island to see some damage that occurred out there shortly. Metro-North, LIRR and the subway systems are not fully functioning at this time, but I want people to stay engaged following the information and to make sure that they stay safe.

I want to conclude by saying once again, New Yorkers show what they're made out of. The collaboration that was going on, the constant communication between our teams is something that perhaps you don't see in the public, but it's real. It makes a difference and it helps save lives and I want to thank our partners at the state level as well, State Police and our rescue teams that had a rescue over 100 people in Westchester and Rockland County alone.

So this is the scenario as we speak today, but I'll be giving continued reports. What I wanted to do first was assess where we are today, but my next question, is where are we going next? How do we prevent this from happening? How do we get money and resources to the places and build up the resiliency in streets. Before we worried about the coastal areas.

Now it's about what's happening in the streets, the drainage systems that need to be enhanced and all the resilience it can bed, because of climate change, unfortunately this is something we're going to have to deal with great regularity and we want to assure all New Yorkers that were prepared for this and we'll do everything we can in our power to protect human life and property. Thank you very much.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640