Tropical Storm Elsa made its way through the eastern portion of the United States on Thursday, causing chaos and flooding in several regions of the coast. But its impact on New York City went viral after video of some disturbing flooding circulated on Twitter showing several waterlogged stations in the city’s MTA.
Torrential rains are tough for any region to handle, but the subterranean nature of much of New York’s sprawling subway system make it particularly susceptible to storm surges and flooding. Which is why Thursday’s storm and the sight of passengers struggling to walk through murky floodwaters shocked many online.
How’s your summer going? ⛈ pic.twitter.com/HJENycDyqb
— Douglas Stuart (@Doug_D_Stuart) July 8, 2021
— Rick (@SubwayCreatures) July 8, 2021
The 157th Street Subway was particularly rough, with people using garbage bags and other attempts at staying dry to get through the flooded turnstiles and to the still-running trains.
— Paullee 🤠 (@PaulleeWR) July 8, 2021
Subway station in NYC completely flooded so people are wearing trash bags to pass the water-filled subways. 🤮pic.twitter.com/gSPSbcri1v
— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) July 8, 2021
As the New York Daily News reported Thursday, that flooding was short-lived. And the station in question does tend to flood more often than others because of its design.
Station workers later confirmed the water was waist-deep when the Twitter video was shot around 4:30 p.m. A pump quickly got the water out, said a worker, and the entrance leading to southbound trains was cleared by 6:15 p.m.
“This has happened at this station before during heavy rain,” said another worker who at 7 p.m. had just finished sweeping debris left by the flood.
But that was of little help to those who had a train to catch and rely on public transportation to get around the city. It certainly had some people talking about infrastructure on social media to say the least.
Moments like this I’m just glad there are people who recognize the importance of forging bipartisan compromise in the Senate pic.twitter.com/bqJIqKS9WB
— David Freedlander (@freedlander) July 8, 2021
And climate change.
There's a video circulating of a flooded NYC subway system and people are using it to dunk on the subway. I get it but people are really missing the point: the subway was never designed to handle this b/c this wasn't supposed to happen.
— Kendra "Gloom is My Beat" Pierre-Louis (@KendraWrites) July 8, 2021
Expressways flooded in New York, too, causing traffic nightmares all over the city.
This is the Major Deegan expressway in the Bronx right now. Other roads in NYC and subway lines are also flooded after less the 3 hours of rain. Climate change is coming for us, too. pic.twitter.com/teIjF3yMj2
— Read Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (@JoshuaPotash) July 8, 2021
The storm was the latest instance in recent weeks of severe weather impacting daily life in the United States, coming on the heels of record-breaking temperatures that also caused damage to utilities and public transportation. And another reminder of the impacts of severe weather and the human causes that continue to make those disasters worse.