Westchester Death Toll Rises From Hurricane Ida

As many as five deaths are now blamed on Hurricane Ida’s torrential rain and flooding in Westchester County as the area tries to return to normal for the Labor Day weekend.

A Rye Brook couple, Ken and Fran Bailie, both computer science professors at Iona College, were on their way home from the school Wednesday evening when their car was overwhelmed by water from the Blind Brook Creek, which spilled over its banks and onto Lincoln Avenue in Harrison, according to the town’s police department.

Ken Bailie’s body was found about a quarter-mile from the car. Police are still searching for his wife.

On Thursday evening, Samuel Weisshandel, 69, of Mount Kisco was found by Elmsford police after his car was abandoned on Route 119 as he was headed home from Rockland County.

A Mount Vernon resident, whose name was not yet released, was also confirmed dead by authorities as a result of flooding while police are searching for a White Plains resident who is missing and may have also been swept away by floodwaters.

County Executive George Latimer said the four confirmed deaths occurred in areas that aren’t associated with flooding.

“What makes the deaths that happened now from Hurricane Ida all the more poignant is that they happened to the greater extent to people just like you and I, (who) were merely traveling from one point to another trying to get home on the night of the storm,” Latimer said.

As much as 10 inches of rain swamped areas of the county in just a few hours Wednesday night, inundating the drainage and infrastructure.

Some roads remained closed Friday afternoon, either because they were still under water or because of damaged pavement. Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins said the Bronx River Parkway was to be reopened by about 3 p.m. However, the Saw Mill River Parkway was still shut down northbound from Exit 4 in Yonkers to Exit 22 just north of I-287. On the southbound side, the parkway was still closed from I-287 to Executive Boulevard (Exit 9).

In Mount Pleasant, Route 100 was shut between Legion Drive and Virginia Road to allow crews to do emergency road repairs while Route 120 from Kipp Street to Douglas Road was also closed for repairs.

“The roadways are a challenge,” Jenkins said. “Make sure you park your patience. It takes a lot longer to navigate then it normally does, and again, be patient to your Westchester neighbor.”

Metro-North’s Hudson line still had no service Friday afternoon after mud and debris washed onto the tracks in the southern part of the county. Latimer was hopeful that service will return to normal for the Tuesday morning rush after the holiday weekend.

Bee-Line buses were at or close to schedule.

With widespread damage from flooding, he called on the federal government to act on the emergency declared by Gov. Kathy Hochul. On Friday morning, Latimer toured Yonkers with U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“It behooves the federal government to take a position of leadership and provide us with resources and the top-level engineering strategies to try and fix things so we can deal with this better because they will come again,” Latimer said.

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