The ferocious storm Elsa dumped torrential rain and high winds on New York City and New England on Friday, flooding streets, toppling trees, and disrupting rail operations.
The storm's maximum sustained winds reached 50 mph (85 kph) by late afternoon as it headed northeast from Boston toward Maine. The National Hurricane Center in the United States said Elsa was no longer a tropical storm, but it warned of heavy rain and strong gusts until Friday evening.
By the early afternoon, Elsa had brought around 3.5 inches (9 cm) of rain to parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, flooding roadways and stranding automobiles. Framingham police-reported Route 9 near Route 126 west of Boston was blocked due to excessive water.
Stormy weather prompted morning delays on commuter train lines across the New York City region, with minor delays on the Harlem Line north of the city and service halted on the Long Island Rail Road's Oyster Bay Branch due to fallen trees.
A minor rock slide under the main railroad track in West Haven, Connecticut, caused by the rain, forced trains to transfer to a secondary track for a couple of hours. West Haven was another one of the coastal cities that experienced major street flooding.
“We’re waiting on the water to recede," said Joe Soto, the city's emergency management director. "The drainage system was just overwhelmed.”
The storm arrived a day after a downpour swamped several New York City streets and subway stations.
Despite footage showing flooding at several stations on Thursday, interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg claimed in an email that “we actually weathered the storm quite well.”
The majority of the winds in New England lingered offshore, but the eastern point of Maine was expecting gusts of 30 mph to 40 mph (48 kph to 64 kph), prompting fears about possible localized power outages. Before the storm blasted into the Bay of Fundy and Canada late Friday, heavy rain was predicted, including 5 inches (12 cm) over parts of the Maine coast.
A tornado slammed a campsite for active-duty service members and military retirees in coastal Camden County, Georgia, on Wednesday, injuring nine people. According to Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base spokeswoman Chris Tucker, eight of those injured had to be transported to hospitals.
The EF-2 tornado flipped over numerous RVs, tossing one of the overturned cars roughly 200 feet (61 meters) into a lake, according to a preliminary assessment issued early Thursday by the National Weather Service after its personnel assessed the damage.
One person was killed Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida, when a tree fell and struck two automobiles, according to authorities. The victim was named Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Deshawn Levon Johnson, 26, of Virginia, by the Naval Air Force Atlantic Office on Friday.
Tropical Storm Claudette hit the South last month, bringing torrential rainfall, strong winds, and tornadoes that destroyed hundreds of houses. As it traveled from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, it was blamed for the deaths of 14 individuals, ten of them were children. Danny, a tropical storm that made landfall on South Carolina in late June before dissipating over Georgia, was quickly followed by Claudette.
The connections between storms and climate change are becoming clearer. A warming world may expect bigger hurricanes and a higher frequency of the most severe storms over time, however, the overall number of storms may decrease since factors such as increasing wind shear may prevent smaller storms from developing.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict 13 to 20 named storms this year, with six to ten of them being hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher in the Atlantic. Last year, there were 30 named storms, including six significant hurricanes, forcing meteorologists to use Greek letters for the second time after exhausting the alphabet.
It was the most storms ever recorded, exceeding the previous high of 28 in 2005, and it contained the second-highest number of hurricanes ever recorded.
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