The death toll in New York City on Thursday rose to 12 following heavy flooding from Hurricane Ida that the city's mayor referred to as a "historic weather event." This adds to a total of 44 people killed in the Northeast since the remnants of Ida brought life in the Big Apple to a halt.

"We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record-breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter on Wednesday when announcing a state of emergency for the city. The mayor urged New Yorkers to stay indoors and avoid traveling by any means in the city.

Hurricane Ida, which severely impacted New Orleans on Sunday with flooding and power outages, blazed a trail northward before reaching the Northeast late Wednesday. Flooding was so severe in New York that it prompted the city’s first-ever flash flood warning.

The New York City Police Department reported that among the dead were a 50-year-old male, a 48-year-old female and a 2-year-old male. A 63-year-old male was also found in Brooklyn on Wednesday night by the police, CNN reported on Thursday. 

Ida’s ferocity in the Northeast has not been confined to New York. New Jersey and Pennsylvania experienced significant flooding. Officials fear the death toll will rise once the waters recede and rescuers can access flooded areas.

Seven tornadoes were reported in an area that includes southern New Jersey and Philadelphia. Tbe Schuylkill River in Philadephia overflowed its banks, rising 10 feet in 12 hours. Hotel evacuations were reported in the Philadelphia area.

In New York City, the Major Deegan Expressway was completely flooded. Four people died in an aparment complex in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

President Joe Biden praised New York's first responders in his first comments on the storm from the White House. He is due to visit Louisiana on Friday to survey the damage left in Ida's wake.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who declared a state of emergency early Thursday morning, visited Jamaica, Queens, to view the damage done by the storm. At a press conference, the governor, speaking alongside Mayor De Blasio and other officials, remarked that more could have been done in her view to prevent the damage left by Ida. In particular, she pointed to the city's sewage system as being unprepared for such a heavy downpour. 

"They’re not able to sustain the effect of flash floods ... It was literally Niagara Falls here," said Hochul. "This is not OK with any of us."

De Blasio concurred and pointed the finger at meteorolgists who he accused of failing to predict the 5 to 6 inches of rain that hammered his city. The mayor took some level of blame when he admitted that Ida took him by surprise as well. 

“That turned into the biggest single hour of rainfall in New York City history with almost no warning. So now we got to change the ground rules,” De Blasio said. He added that going forward it would be appropriate to tell New Yorkers to expect the "very, very worst" even if it risked sounding alarmist.

According to, which tracks power outages nationwide, thousands of customers have been left without power across the city's five boroughs. 

Subway service was being restored late Thursday afternoon. Service has been suspended on Metro-North Railroad, which connects New York City with its northern suburbs. 

Airports outside and within the New York metropolitan area are also being forced to limit their operations. The New York Post reported that Newark Liberty Airport had to delay up to 120 flights and cancel another 20. At Kennedy Airport, 108 flights were on hold and 18 were shelved while LaGuardia saw 13 delays and six cancellations.

Newark’s Liberty Airport had to temporarily evacuate the air traffic control tower due to winds Wednesday night, CNN reported. A sector of one of the airport’s terminals also suffered from flooding and passengers had to be moved to the upper levels.