Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne says there were no reports of injuries or casualties among Trinidad and Tobago nationals living or visiting New York, after a state of emergency was declared following widespread flooding in the city yesterday.
Early yesterday morning, heavy rains and winds lashed New York City, dumping as much as seven inches of rainfall in some areas and resulting in flooding in several boroughs.
Dr Browne confirmed around 3.49 pm yesterday that local officials were keeping their eyes on the situation.
“Our team at the Consulate General in New York is monitoring the situation very closely on our behalf,”
“They will remain in contact with diaspora groups and individuals in the affected communities. Thus far, we have had no reports of injuries amongst our people.”
Browne said he had requested regular updates from officials in NY and would update the media and public as they were received.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared an SoE around 3 pm yesterday, as rainfall was expected to continue throughout last night and over the weekend.
The stormy weather, which some described as “hurricane-type” in its intensity, was said to be the remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia, which was forecast to continue chugging across the region.
A T&T national holidaying in the residential neighbourhood of Carnasie in the south-eastern portion of Brooklyn, said she had been forced to remain indoors to avoid getting trapped outside due to the adverse weather.
While they were pummelled with blistering rains and gusty winds earlier in the day, the national, who asked not to be named, said it had lessened after noon, though they continued to experience a slight drizzle and overcast skies.
She shared that by 1.30 pm, the situation had worsened.
“The train stations were flooded. Bus stops were flooded. The FDR (Franklin D Roosevelt East River Drive), which is the bridge you would take to go over to Manhattan, was flooded. It is horrible,” she said.
NY Mayor Eric Adams had appealed to people to exercise extreme caution and heighten alertness as he urged them to remain at home, and for those already out to shelter in place.
Ankle-high floodwaters at Terminal A at LaGuardia Airport also forced the closure of the facility, as frantic passengers tried to flee – while flight disruptions were reported at JFK International Airport.
The National Weather Service in NY said yesterday that preliminary checks showed it was the wettest September day on record at JFK Airport, eclipsing the record from Hurricane Donna in 1960. It also ranked as the second-wettest airport day of all time.
The T&T national said a red alert was issued around midday yesterday, which came in the form of a text message via cell phone announced by four siren-like blares.
“Schools were closed. There were some hospitals in Manhattan whose doors had to be closed as they were flooded, while others continued to operate,” she said.
Indicating that they had been experiencing colder than usual temperatures for the month of September, she explained that local authorities in NY had warned that a bitter winter was also ahead.
She said authorities were not scheduled to turn on the heat until October 15.
“I really don’t know what they have planned for right now, as the weather is changing. The most we can do now is to keep ourselves warm.
“The homeless people used to go down to the trains, as they would have gotten some heat from it, but with the train stations being flooded out now, we don’t know where these people will go.”