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At least 1 dead, state of emergency declared in Orange County due to flooding

1 death in Orange Co. due to flooding; rescues needed in Rockland Co.
1 death in Orange Co. due to flooding; rescues needed in Rockland Co. 02:58

HIGHLAND FALLS, N.Y. -- A state of emergency was declared in Orange County on Sunday due to "life-threatening" flooding from storms and heavy rain that moved through the Tri-State Area, Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

Officials say at least one person died during the severe rain and flooding.

County Executive Steve Neuhaus told CBS New York a woman in her mid-30s was evacuating her house in Highland Falls due to mass flooding, and as she and her dog were trying to reach her car, they both were swept away by floodwaters. The woman was later found dead. Neuhaus said the dog was found safe and was taken in by a neighbor.

Neuhaus said the Highland Falls area and southern Orange County were hit the hardest, with most of the roads in Highland Falls impassable.

Dozens of people had to be rescued, and residents were urged to stay home and stay off the roads.

From West Point Highway, Orange County turned into a rushing river. The fast-moving rain left cars submerged on Thayer Road at West Point.

It saw the highest rain totals in the Tri-State Area at almost 8 inches of rainfall.

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"I'm trying to respond to people that are trapped, their house is in danger of either washing, collapsing, or elderly people who are evacuated from one of the nursing homes here," Neuhaus told CBS New York.

The governor said her office was in close communication with local officials, and state agencies were helping with search-and-rescue efforts.

In nearby Rockland County, people also had to be rescued.

Crews rescued a man by boat at a park near Lowland Hill Road in Stony Point.

Haverstraw resident Chema Monroy says his family was having a celebration in the park and then got stranded after they became surrounded by floodwaters.

"I was supposed to come to the party. I saw a lot of water. I didn't see no peoples," he said.

County Executive Ed Day said six hikers were rescued at nearby Bear Mountain, including a child who was taken to a local hospital with a head injury.

"The rain came in at an amazing clip. It really did have an effect on the stability of the sides of the mountain," he said.

Water surrounded the Chabad of Stony Point Synagogue, coming right up to the windows.

"The synagogue is right next to the water bank over there, and it overflowed," congregant Yossi Gross said. "We're able to pray now, and everything is OK."

In Stony Point, there was so much rain, vehicles were flooded at the Penguin Rep Theatre and had to be towed.

Travel may still be difficult Monday. Route 9-W is closed until the highway is deemed safe for cars to be on, and the Palisades Parkway north of Exit 14 is also closed.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Rockland County- Palisades Interstate Parkway: Numerous roadways consisting of State Route 9W and...

Posted by New York State Police on Sunday, July 9, 2023

"I've lived here for seven years. This is the first time I ever seen this happen," Stony Point resident Tina Martinez said.

Residents in Orange and Rockland counties are still encouraged to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

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