Searches, sorrow in wake of Ida's destructive, deadly floods

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Police went door to door in search of more possible victims and drew up lists of the missing as the death toll rose to 49 on Friday in the catastrophic flooding set off across the Northeast by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
ELIZABETH, N.J. —

The disaster underscored with heartbreaking clarity how vulnerable the U.S. is to the extreme weather that climate change is bringing. In its wake, officials weighed far-reaching new measures to save lives in future storms.

More than three days after the hurricane blew ashore in Louisiana, Ida's rainy remains hit the Northeast with stunning fury on Wednesday and Thursday, submerging cars, swamping subway stations and basement apartments and drowning scores of people in five states.

Intense rain overwhelmed urban drainage systems never meant to handle so much water in such a short time — a record 3 inches in just an hour in New York. Seven rivers in the Northeast reached their highest levels on record, Dartmouth College researcher Evan Dethier said.

On Friday, communities labored to haul away ruined vehicles, pump out homes and highways, clear away muck and other debris and restore mass transit.

Even after clouds gave way to blue skies, some rivers and streams were still rising. Part of the swollen Passaic River in New Jersey wasn't expected to crest until Friday night.

"People think it's beautiful out, which it is, that this thing's behind us and we can go back to business as usual, and we're not there yet," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy warned.

At least 25 people perished in New Jersey, the most of any state. Most drowned after their vehicles were caught in flash floods. A family of three and their neighbor were killed as 12 to 14 feet of water filled their apartments in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Across the street, Jennifer Vilchez said she could hear people crying, "Help! Help!" from their windows.

At least six people remained missing in the state, Murphy said.

In New York City, 11 people died when they were unable to escape rising water in their low-lying apartments. A man, woman and 2-year-old boy perished as their Queens street turned into a raging gully, hemmed in by a concrete wall on the nearby Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Officials…
MIKE CATALINI, WAYNE PARRY, MICHAEL R. SISAK, Associated Press
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