The President said the United States faces climate-related devastation across the country, addressing it as a "matter of life and death."
New York City and New Jersey experienced unprecedented levels of rainfall.
Some residents became trapped in basements and flooded cars.
Six states suffered the loss of life:
- New Jersey Governor Murphy said at least 23 people died in his state - most of them stuck in their cars as the water rose
- At least 14 people lost their lives in New York City, including a two-year-old boy. Eleven of them drowned while trapped in flooded cellars, officials said.
- Five people died in Pennsylvania, while a state trooper in Connecticut washed away as he responded to a call
- Deaths were also reported in Maryland and Virginia
President Biden declared a state of emergency in both New Jersey and New York, enabling the two states to obtain federal funding to support local disaster relief efforts.
The impact of climate change on the pace of storms remains unclear, but we know that rising sea surface temperatures warm the air above and provide more energy to drive hurricanes, hurricanes, and hurricanes. As a result, they are likely to be more intense with more extreme rainfall.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2°C since the industrial age began and temperatures will continue to rise unless governments around the world make sharp emission reductions.
'Niagara Falls Water Level'
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized weather experts, saying their forecasts "make fun of them within minutes." He said he had received a warning to expect three to six inches (7.5 to 15 cm) of rain throughout the day. However, a record 3.15 inches fell in Central Park in just one hour.
"The savageness and brutality of storms are now different," he said, adding that the latest extreme weather was "the biggest wake-up call."
"We didn't know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m..m last night, the sky would literally open and bring the water level of Niagara Falls to the streets of New York," New York Governor Kathy Hochul said.
Residents are assessing property damage.
A man in Flushing, New York, said his house was prone to flooding, "but what I saw last night is unimaginable." "I've never seen water come in all directions," Tidla Asfao, 60, told the BBC. "There is a lot of damage here. It's a big blow for us."
In New Jersey, a hurricane flattened the state's largest dairy farm, ripping through rooftops and knocking out several large silos.
The owners of The Wilakrist Farm wrote on their Facebook page that many cows were trapped under sheds, some of which fell and died. "In addition to the devastating losses of homes in our neighborhoods, we as a society have suffered a great loss with the destruction of our farm."
In New York, some 835 people had to be rescued from stranded subway trains, police said Thursday after social media photos showed water flowing into subway stations and tunnels.
Other footage showed cars floating on flooded roads, with cries of "help" heard from the inside. Nearly 500 cars were left in New York, according to the Associated Press.
Passengers on trains, planes, and buses describe finding themselves stuck for hours without moving as floods made travel impossible.
Sunrise in New Jersey after a night on the train. The roads are closed, and the train isn’t moving, as we wake up to the damage from Ida’s ferocious flash flooding. pic.twitter.com/9b9KGfLnQf— Laura Trevelyan (@LauraTrevelyan) September 2, 2021
Storm Ida: "One of the great challenges of our time"
President Biden said the unprecedented floods in the region, along with the devastation that Hurricane Ida brought to Louisiana, Mississippi, and wildfires in the west, are "another reminder that these severe storms in the climate crisis are here."
He said he would push Congress to take action on his "better rebuild" plan, which would see "historic investment" in infrastructure, including upgrading roads and bridges and improving power, water, and sewage systems.
"This destruction is everywhere," he said. "It's a matter of life and death and we're all in this together. This is one of the great challenges of our time, but I am sure we will meet him."
Four ways climate change is associated with extreme weather
The president will visit Louisiana on Friday to assess what is being done to help the state, which became the first to face Hurricane Ida when it made landfall on Sunday. More than 900,000 homes remain without power in the state.