The tenacious remains of Hurricane Ida raced through the Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, generating several tornadoes in Maryland and overtopping a dam in central Pennsylvania, before torrential rain and floods sparked a state of emergency in New York City.
Tornado warnings and watches were issued for sections of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware as the stormy weather pushed northeast. High winds might cause damage to dwellings and mobile homes, according to the National Weather Service in Baltimore, which advised residents in the southeastern region of the state to seek shelter.
With the first rays of dawn on Thursday morning, the storm’s damage over Philadelphia became obvious. A section of the Vine Street Expressway, a major thoroughfare that runs through the city’s heart, was flooded. The Schuylkill River had flooded, rendering neighboring highways unusable, and some cars appeared to be nearly totally submerged across the city. The city’s public transportation system has been hampered by widespread floods, which resulted in delays and cancellations.
Ron Harper, 87, said he was restricted to his 14th-floor apartment in a building near the flooded Schuylkill River on Thursday morning. Building management informed him that elevator service will be suspended because the floods in a garage serving the building continued to rise.
Mr. Harper explained, “There are two levels of parking, and the water was flowing into that, which I could see while I was out walking.”
On Thursday night, at least four tornadoes touched down in Maryland, with one near Mullica Hill, New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service.
Annapolis spokeswoman Mitchelle Stephenson said a tornado near the city had knocked out power to around 2,500 people and that the city had received reports of fallen trees. According to Ms. Stephenson, the fire and police agencies had closed roadways to inspect the damage, but no injuries had been recorded.
Strong, quick gusts were captured on video on social media, obstructing streets with felled utility poles, signs, and trees.
Forecasters were worried about flooded rivers, and Wilmore Dam in central Pennsylvania was “overtopping” with three feet of rainwater at one point, according to John Banghoss, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, Pa. A total of 42,000 people were instructed to relocate to higher ground.
In southeastern Pennsylvania, a flash flood warning has been issued for northeastern Chester County, northwestern Delaware County, and Montgomery County. Rainfall totals of 4.5 to 7 inches have been reported, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm was headed toward New England, which had already been hammered by hurricanes Henri and Elsa this summer. Henri, which made landfall as a tropical storm on August 22 in southwestern Rhode Island, dumped lashing bands of rain throughout much of New England.
Three to five inches of rain had fallen in Massachusetts by Thursday morning, flooding highways. In Nantucket, Provincetown, and other parts of Massachusetts, tornado watches were in effect until 7 a.m.
“It’s going to dump a lot of rain before it leaves,” said Dan Thompson, a Weather Service meteorologist.