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Flash floods hit N.Y. and Vermont, killing 1 and prompting emergency

Intense rainfall killed at least one person, trapped others and washed away major roads in parts of New York’s Hudson Valley late Sunday, and by Monday morning was causing Vermont’s worst flooding in a decade.

Virtually all of Vermont was under a flash flood warning through Monday afternoon as rain fell at rates of as much as 1.5 inches per hour, on top of up to half of a foot that fell in the early-morning hours, the National Weather Service said. Flooding closed major roads across the state and forced a rescue of 10 people from a campsite near Andover, the Weather Service reported.

In New York, the Hudson Valley was the most affected after torrential rains were blamed for one storm-related death in the town of Highlands, state Sen. James Skoufis (D) said in an email, adding that efforts were ongoing to determine whether there were more casualties, as “vital infrastructure and homes were washed away.”

In some cases, Skoufis added, entire roads were “completely destroyed” by the flooding. The nearby U.S. Army Garrison at West Point reported flooded and washed-out roads after nearly 8 inches of rain fell in a deluge that at times carried an intensity only expected to occur in that location about once every 1,000 years, on average. Orange County and Rockland County received 5 to 8 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said.

Calling the floods “life-threatening,” Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) issued a state of emergency for Orange and Ontario counties late Sunday. Nearly 13,000 residents were without power because of the storms in Orange County, she said.

Flash flood warnings were issued for New York City overnight, with officials asking residents of basement apartments to move to a higher floor and for all New Yorkers to stay off roads.

The last severe deluge and flooding in New York City came from the remnants of Hurricane Ida in 2021 and was linked to 44 deaths in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, 16 of them in New York City. The city’s inadequate infrastructure and drainage system were major factors in its vulnerability to flooding, authorities acknowledged at the time.

Niha Masih and Scott Dance