A Man on a Raft and Other Strange Images from NYC After Ida Flooding

New York City was hit with dangerously heavy rains and flash flooding Wednesday night, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through the region.

The weather event marked the first time that the National Weather Service office in New York has issued a flash flood emergency alert in the area, and the city entered a state of emergency early Thursday morning.

The city's infrastructure was not equipped to handle the severe weather: over the course of the storm, New York's subway stations turned into rapids, cars began to float, and apartment buildings filled with water.

Amid the chaos, many took to social media to document the historic weather event, sharing videos of bizarre scenes spurred by the storm. While the footage is practically endless, we've collected some of the weirdest and most unbelievable clips to come out of NYC.

NYC Flooding
Abandoned cars in the Bronx, New York following the heavy rain and flooding caused by Hurricane Ida's remnants, September 2, 2021. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In a clip that's been viewed over 700,000 times, one man appears to find relaxation amid the roaring flood waters. In the 13-second video, the man floats on an inflatable raft in what looks like a flooded alleyway. He appears to be smoking a hookah as rain pummels down around him.

The rain did not only affect the outdoors and subways—countless apartment units, especially those located in the basements of buildings, reported severe flooding.

In one video, a bathroom is shown overflowing with black water. In an attempt to stop the rising floodwaters, the residents had placed a massive sandbag in the toilet bowl and several more in the bathroom's doorway. They, however, were no match for the powerful flood.


— WhatIsNewYork (@whatisny) September 2, 2021

A similar clip shows a range of plumbing issues caused by the storm, including an overflowing kitchen sink and a bathtub filled with what could only be sewage water.

Exploding toilets of d26 are back. Tonight’s water show brought to you by Phipps Garden APTs. We need to invest in sewage infrastructure in NYC. my neighbors APTs and houses are also flooded. Stay dry everyone.
May the toilet of every climate change denier explode tonight. pic.twitter.com/z98gUNTA0Z

— Julie Won🌻 (@juliewon2021) September 2, 2021

Another video shows someone walking through their apartment and into their kitchen, both of which were flooded with several inches of water. The resident heads to their fridge and opens it, revealing that even his produce wasn't immune to the flood.


— WhatIsNewYork (@whatisny) September 2, 2021

Many more New Yorkers were caught outside and in transit when the rains hit. Some decided to brave the dangerous conditions, continuing on with their nightly commutes.

In one video, viewers can see what it was like to drive through the rapidly-moving floodwaters. As the car reaches an intersection, a man in an adjacent vehicle initiates a "water-flight" of sorts with the person filming, splashing the camera repeatedly.

Another, meanwhile, highlights one New Yorker's determination to reach their final destination. As rain pours down, a person is seen walking with a giant trash bag over their head and body. Their feet are also protected from the weather: a plastic shopping bag has been tied around each of the pedestrian's shoes.

You guys keep me looking forward to rain 😂 #whatisnewyork pic.twitter.com/FaDClECLJP

— WhatIsNewYork (@whatisny) September 1, 2021

Another video purported to show how one of New York's many rats handled the storm, though the footage has been circulating on Twitter since at least July when it was uploaded by a user from the Philippines during floods there. The video shows a rat in water, spinning and twirling to stay afloat. The clip has been viewed over 144,000 times and circulated widely on social media.

Only in New York City will you see a rat doing the cha cha slide 😂😂😂 #nyc #flood #hurricaneida pic.twitter.com/irbJUZI0Gs

— Gerard (@gwayathat) September 2, 2021

President Joe Biden spoke on Ida's effect on the northeast region Thursday, noting that New York saw more rain on the first day of September than what is typically recorded throughout the entire month. The hurricane is reportedly the 5th largest in U.S. history.

Correction 09/03/21, 07:32 a.m. ET: This article and its headline were corrected to reflect that the video of a swimming rat is not from the New York floods.