Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Flooding in Brooklyn Monday evening had commuters walking in waist-deep waters in some areas.

Flooding in Brooklyn Monday evening had commuters walking in waist-deep waters in some areas. (Screenshot: Adrienne Zhao)

'This is What the Climate Crisis Looks Like': One Day After Crushing Heat Wave, Flash Floods Inundate New York City

"Looks like New York City declared their climate emergency just in time."

Eoin Higgins

Less than a month after New York City declared a climate emergency, the reality of the crisis came crashing home Monday as streets across Brooklyn and Queens were inundated with flash flooding a day after power went down in three boroughs due to a heat wave. 

Commuters headed home late in the day were stymied by trains shut down due to flash flooding from rain that hit the city after a days-long heat wave that drove temperatures into the triple digits.

"This is what the climate crisis looks like," tweeted youth-led environmental movement Sunrise Movement. 

Con Ed cut power to areas in the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island Sunday night after the weekend heat wave strained the energy company's infrastructure. 

On Monday evening, a rain storm that hit the area at 8pm caused flash flooding. Streets in Brooklyn were impassable as water rose to people's waists, leading at least one Uber driver, Walid Shawon, and his customer in Brooklyn's South Slope neighborhood to flee the vehicle from a window and swim to safety.

"My car was floating in the water,"  Shawon told The New York Daily News. "We put it in neutral and it floated like a boat."

As Twitter user @brahmsposting noted, the water that Shawon and his fare forded comes from the Superfund site Gowanus Canal, making the flooding potentially toxic. 

"The water isn't even safe to touch without special gear," tweeted @brahmsposting. 

As a number of commentators pointed out on social media, the flooding punctuated the growing threat of the climate crisis and how it will affect the world's most populous cities. 

"Looks like New York City declared their climate emergency just in time," meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted sardonically. 

The flooding and heat wave, tweeted City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, makes clear that the "bottom line" for New Yorkers is to do what needs to be done to prepare for the effects of the crisis.

"We must do all we can to get our infrastructure ready," Johnson said. "Every night like this we need to recommit ourselves to the global fight against climate change."

But, as climate advocacy organization 350.org pointed out, not everyone is on board with that plan. 

"It's worth noting that as New York City's roads, subways, and other vital infrastructure struggle to deal with climate impacts, @NYGovCuomo is weighing whether to build a new, climate-wrecking fracked gas pipeline in the city's harbor," the group tweeted.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'This Is Big': House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

The vote, said Rep. Ro Khanna, "sent a clear message to the Saudis: end the bombing in Yemen and lift the blockade."

Andrea Germanos ·


Tlaib Praised for 'Braving the Smears' and Voting Against $1 Billion Israel Military Aid Bill

One rights group thanked Tlaib "for speaking truth to power" while being attacked "for simply insisting that Palestinians are human beings who deserve safety, security, and freedom from Israeli apartheid."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Hold Strong': Coalition Urges House to Reject Bipartisan Bill Until Reconciliation Package Passed

The bipartisan infrastructure bill "doesn't contain the climate solutions and care, education, and economic investments we need," more than 90 progressive groups wrote in a letter.

Kenny Stancil ·


New Legal Campaign Aims to Protect People and Nature From Polluters' 'Irreparable Damage'

"States must listen to communities' demands to recognize the human right to a healthy environment and better regulate businesses with respect to the impacts of their operations."

Jessica Corbett ·


'You Tell Me What We Should Cut': Sanders Not Budging on $3.5 Trillion

"Poll after poll tells me, and tells you, that what we are trying to do is enormously popular."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo