The scope of devastation caused by the tail-end of Hurricane Ida ravaging the northeast was still emerging Friday – as the cleanup continued and some areas braced for even more flooding due to surging rivers.
At least 48 people died across five states when the storm wreaked havoc and left a trail of destruction from Maryland to New York late Wednesday and into Thursday.
Many of the victims died when water cascaded into basement apartments in New York City and dozens drowned in New Jersey when their cars were caught up in flash floods.
Authorities were still searching for possible victims and identifying the dead into Friday.
“I don’t have an exact answer regarding how many people are actually missing, but we are going to continue to work hard throughout the day and the evening to identify everyone’s location,” NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said late Thursday.
The cleanup also continued with people working to clear away debris from streets, haul away previously submerged vehicles, restore transportation services and survey the floodwater – and in some cases tornado — damage to their homes and businesses.
In parts of New Jersey, the threat of further flooding loomed after rivers surged amid record-breaking rainfall and continued to rise throughout Thursday.
The National Weather Service warned there could be major flooding Friday in some northern New Jersey Rivers and officials are monitoring closely the Passaic, Hackensack, Pequannock and Rockaway rivers.
The Passaic River in Fairfield is expect to crest by noon Friday and roads closers in that region remain in effect until Saturday, according to local police.
Scenes emerged Thursday of first responders going door-to-door via boat in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and upstate New York to rescue people trapped in their homes after streets were turned into rivers.
Satellite images showed entire neighborhoods in New Jersey underwater late Thursday.
Forecasters had warned of potential flash flooding in the region after Ida came ashore in Louisiana last Sunday and started moving northeast.
The ferocity of the storm, however, caught most by surprise.
Thirteen people were killed in New York City, with the majority drowning in their flooded basement apartments.
The death toll was highest in New Jersey where 25 were killed. Most victims in the Garden State died in their submerged cars or were swept away getting out them.
A 19-year-old man was also found dead in a flooded apartment in Maryland, a Connecticut State Police trooper was swept away in his car and at least five people were killed in Pennsylvania, including one who was hit by a tree.
President Joe Biden approved disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey late Thursday.
With Post wires