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Ida Death Toll: More Than 3 Dozen People Killed When Flood Waters Sweep Tri-State; De Blasio Announces New Storm Evacuation Plan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday changes are being made to the storm preparation playbook after the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused unprecedented and deadly floods.

De Blasio said New York City will now evacuate people in basement apartments, as well as those on the coast, after the storm claimed the lives of 13 people in the city, CBS2's John Dias reported.

More than three dozen lives were lost throughout the Tri-State Area. At least 25 people were killed in New Jersey, three in Westchester, and one in Connecticut.

In New Jersey, a 70-year-old man was swept away by flood waters in Passaic, and four people were found dead at an apartment complex in Elizabeth.

A Connecticut state trooper was also swept away by flood waters. He was identified as Sergeant Brian Mohl, a 26-year veteran of the state police.

Mohl was on duty near Three Rivers Park in Woodbury on Thursday when he reported his vehicle was filling with water and called for help. Responding crews found the cruiser, but Mohl wasn't inside. He was later found, but died en route to Yale New Haven Hospital.

Among the New York City victims were 50-year-old Ang Lama, 48-year-old Mingma Sherpa and their 2-year-old son Lobsang Lama. The family was killed Wednesday when their basement apartment in Woodside, Queens flooded.

2 year old killed flood queens
(credit: CBS2)

"He's a nice boy, really cute boy," said Yengdi Sherpa, the victims' cousin.

Over Facetime, Sherpa told Dias their extended family is devastated by the sudden losses. She told Dias the family lived in the apartment for five years.

"I talked to them about three days ago and they were very happy," Sherpa said.

Many of the victims in the city lived in neighborhoods that are not prone to floods, and were underprepared.

"People were just thinking a little rain or something like that. But it was really bad," one person said.

"I cannot blame no one because, many people go against the city, but really nobody knows how we can be prepared for something that, we don't what's gonna happen," said Gladys Pena.

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In Jamaica, 43-year-old Phamatee Ramskriet and her 22-year-old son Khrishah Ramskreit died when their building partially collapsed and flood waters filled their basement apartment.

Their neighbors blame the city.

"It's negligence because we are a middle class community. No one cares to come out here and help us or do anything, but because we lost two lives, everybody wants to show up," one woman said.

"There is no fix that's going on. It's all failed and our lives are at stake," said another woman.

Neighbors said they've been complaining for years about the inadequate and broken drainage system on and around 183rd Street.

"Five minutes of rain, not heavy rain, the water comes up," said one man.

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Mayor de Blasio said, while this storm was unpredictable, extreme weather is now the norm.

"It's not like the rain we used to know. It's just not. It's a different reality -- a speed and intensity that we now have to understand will be normal. And I hate saying that, but it's true," de Blasio said. "We've now been shown an entirely different situation. It is climate driven, and that's crucial to put up front."

The city is reevaluating its evacuation plan, announcing the New York City Climate-Driven Rain Response. Crews will activate cellphone alerts and go door-to-door to get people out of basement apartments when another storm like this approaches.

De Blasio said the city will also consider issuing stronger travel bans.

The mayor said he does not expect the storm's death toll in the city to rise any further, but couldn't say for sure.

Meanwhile, the New York City Counsel will hold an oversight hearing on Sept. 14 to get answers from the MTA and other city officials.


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