New York City is under a state of emergency due to massive flooding on Friday from a storm system expected to dump up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain across the city over a 24-hour period.
"This is time for heightened alertness and extreme caution," Mayor Eric Adams said at a virtual news conference.
The torrential rains have already flooded the subway system, while parts of LaGuardia Airport have been shut down, resulting in cancellations and delays throughout the metropolis.
Residents of America's most populous city of nearly 8.5 million people are all under a flash flood watch for the entire day, causing chaos, especially for those who are outdoors.
"If you are at home, stay home. If you are at work or school, shelter in place," Adams emphasized. "If you are out ... and encounter a flooded area, be it on a roadway or a subway station, do not enter."
New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued a joint state of emergency with Mayor Adams and announced that the National Guard had been deployed to help rescue crews save stranded motorists and those flooded in their homes during this life-threatening weather event.
"If people decide to venture out in a vehicle, they do so at their own peril because even 6 inches of rain, one foot of rain, it may look pretty innocuous, it's safe, but that is a condition where your vehicle can be swept away," said Hochul.
"We lose more lives of people during flooding events ... the reason people lose their lives in a flood event, more often than that is they're swept away in their vehicles."
Officials are stressing safety as the heavy rain and flooding continue as efforts continue to get the subways back up and running. In the meantime, more buses are being put on the streets to help commuters eventually get back home.
"We want to make sure we can get the subways, the trains, our communication system, our transportation system up working because there's children who use the subways to get home from school, people need to be able to know if they can get home from work," said Hochul. "And so that is priority number one, to make sure our subways and our railway systems are safe."
The storm system is expected to hover over New York City for about 20 hours and officials are warning residents not to be fooled by any lull in the bad weather.
"This is a dangerous weather condition and it is not over and I don't want those gaps in heavy rain to give the appearance that it is over. It is not," said Adams.
"We could possibly see eight inches of rain before the day is over."