Melissa Harris-Perry: Now on to New York City where The Takeaway is produced and even though I'm down here in North Carolina, this one hits hard for us. Late last night as Hurricane Ida barreled into NYC, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency. The city saw record levels of rainfall, which led to flooding in the streets and subways, emergency flash flood warnings, a travel ban, and, sadly, multiple fatalities.
Part of New Jersey also saw torrential storms and tornadoes along with flash flooding. With me now is the host of WNYC's Morning Edition, Michael Hill. Michael, how are you doing well?
Michael Hill: Melissa, I'm okay. What's a rough commute this morning. I'll tell you that I was coming up via Garden State Parkway in an Uber. Before we got on the highway, my driver had to dodge several abandoned cars at an intersection that flooded overnight. It's been rough here all night long, but we are clear and calm this morning and sunny, and looks like nothing ever happened until you start digging deep and look at the subways, look at the city, look at New Jersey, and so forth and again, consider that people died in flooded basements in New York City. One person died in a flooded car in Passaic, New Jersey. There may be even more casualties to come.
Melissa Harris-Perry: It feels like this came out of nowhere. It felt like folks were really surprised. All my New York City friends were like, "Whoa, we thought there'd be rain, but we didn't expect this." Were you taken aback?
Michael Hill: I think we all were. I think the forecast was for some really heavy rainfall overnight, gusty winds, even a gale warning that was in place until six o'clock last night. We had flash flood warnings. What hit us from Ida was we got walloped. Let's just face it, it was really bad. Areas here that were-- the grounds were saturated last week from Henri and so forth and had record rainfall last week.
Even those records that were set last week were broken with this storm overnight. There are some places that got two to three to four inches within an hour or two. Newark Airport, for instance, had major issues. They would shut down all of this service there and it was later restored this morning, but we're talking about, we got really whacked with this, and I don't even think that the governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, the new governor, who's only been in office now for a little more than a week. She wasn't anticipating this either.
Melissa Harris-Perry: As I was watching the reports about the storm in New York, I kept thinking, "I wonder if there's also a bit of a post-Sandy trauma in New York?" Also, of course, the ongoing reality of COVID there.
Michael Hill: There are comparisons to Sandy and the damage with Sandy for certain, we spoke to governor Kathy Hochul this morning about that. She was talking about the climate resiliency and being prepared and so forth. This is a once in a 500 year or 1,000-year storm, but even given that, my question was, "Okay, knowing that kind of reality and we're into a different phase of climate change and so forth, should we have been a little bit more prepared even for something like this?"
When you say it's going to happen once every 500 years or 1,000 years, is that, okay, we're in this pattern now where these really awful things are happening with weather when you consider what's taking place out west with the brush fires and so forth, and the storms and one storm after the other in the Atlantic and so forth. We're going to get whacked here on the East Coast more and more and probably with more regularity as well.
Melissa Harris-Perry: This Hurricane season has been pretty brutal.
Michael Hill: It has been, and we're already at the I named storms and we haven't even reached the peak of the season yet, which is, for the Atlantic Hurricane season, is the first or the second week in September, September 10th, and here we are, these storms are coming one right after the other. It looks like you're dealing with the aftermath of Ida, then you look out there and there's another named storm Julian, and the water out there, as the National Weather Service and no one so forth describe, the water is really warm.
Melissa Harris-Perry: We've been talking about how to prepare for disaster, not just with your GoBag, but really prepare with your neighbors. Any thoughts about how New Yorkers can make sure that they are sticking close to each other while staying distant from each other?
Michael Hill: I go back to the experience I had with retired Lieutenant General Honoré in New Orleans after Katrina, and just mentions that you look in on your neighbors, do things that are smart. You certainly prepare for yourself, but you also check in on loved ones and neighbors to make sure that the whole community is prepared because what takes place next door does have an impact on you. There's a lot of that kind of consideration that Lieutenant General Russell Honoré used to talk about and talk about others being prepared individually, personally, but community as well.
Melissa Harris-Perry: Oh, love Honoré. WNYC's Morning Edition's Michael Hill. Thanks for joining us.
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