ORANGE COUNTY, N.Y. – At least one person died after heavy rains caused flash floods in New York on Sunday, inundating some areas with as many as nine inches of rain, officials said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said a 35-year-old woman died after noticing that her house was taking on too much water. The woman went outside with her dog and her fiancé saw her get swept away by the water, the governor said.
“We discovered her remains, she was in the bottom of a ravine,” Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus said. “It was very dangerous for the first responders that had to get her out of there. We saw the debris falling on them as they tried to get her back onto high land where we could get her back to the Medical Examiner’s Office.”
As of 10 a.m., all other Orange County residents had been accounted for, WABC-TV reported.
Officials urged people to avoid roads and stay safe as a slow-moving storm crawled over the Hudson Valley on Sunday. A flood watch was in effect for most of eastern New York on Monday.
“They’re calling this a 1,000-year event,” Hochul said during a news conference in hard-hit Hudson Falls. The governor noted that the storm is expected to continue dumping rain over parts of the state on Monday.
“We’re not anticipating this scale of damage in other parts of New York at this time but that could change,” she said.
Authorities rescued dozens of drivers from flooded roads, The New York Times reported.
“We saw cars swirling in our streets like this was a river,” Hochul said. In a social media post, she added that officials saw “significant damage to homes, businesses (and) infrastructure.”
The governor attributed the “extraordinary, extraordinary weather event” to climate change and vowed to continue working with authorities to address the issue.
“These are unprecedented weather events that keep hitting us over and over and over again, so we must change our behavior as a planet, as a country, as a state and in our own home,” she said.
Crews were working Monday to assess the damage, check bridges and prepare for the possibility of more torrential rain. Neuhaus said that the storm has so far caused “easily tens of millions of dollars of damage here.”
State and local officials are coordinating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other officials to help get resources into the community, Hochul said. A state of emergency declaration remained in place Monday for Orange and Ontario counties.
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