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NYC highways reopen after Hurricane Ida closure

New York City Police vehicles block the entrance to the BQE during Ida's flooding Wednesday night, Sept. 1.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

After Hurricane Ida inundated the city and forced officials to halt travel, New York City’s highways and expressways finally reopened on Friday morning.

“As of 730 a.m. on September 3, all highways and expressways in NYC are open,” the NYPD Transportation Bureau tweeted. “Please continue to exercise caution on your roadways.”

The announcement comes around 36 hours after a historic downpour flooded large swaths of the city, with a record 3.15 inches of rain hitting Central Park in the one-hour stretch between 8:51 pm and 9:51 pm.

Jarringly, that record-setting number smashed the previous on-hour high that had been set just a few days earlier, on Aug. 21.

The flooding became so extreme in many places within the Five Boroughs that dozens of drivers abandoned their cars on the roadways, and hundreds of other cars were washed away from their parking spots and into the streets.

“We have removed over 650 cars from the highways,” the Transit Bureau said. “These vehicles have been relocated to a safe space. To locate please call 311.”

By 12:30 am on Sept. 2, city authorities had issued a travel ban on all non-essential vehicles, which lasted until 5 am. 

Public transit-users were also not spared from the inundation, as nearly every train line was shuttered on Wednesday night, and straphangers were stranded on nearly 20 trains while waiting for a rescue from first responders. Despite the flooding, however, train service was largely restored and operational by Thursday morning. 

The storm similarly lacked mercy for passengers aboard city buses, with users on social media showing the MTA vehicles driving while the interior had flooded and straphangers stood atop seats to avoid the water. 

Even more devastating, over a dozen New York City residents were killed in the storm, many of whom were trapped in basement apartments that quickly filled with water. Around the tri-state area, the downpour has been credited with over 43 deaths.

To find a vehicle that was abandoned or washed away, please call 311.

This story first appeared on amNewYork.

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