MINNEAPOLIS — It was a chaotic scene for Simone Holloman as she traveled on the highway from New Jersey to her home just outside of NYC Wednesday night.
"The highways in New Jersey were already flooded by the time I got on the highway last night," said Holloman. "Cars were stuck in the water. They couldn't get past. People were out in the rain trying to get people out of cars engulfed in the water."
The storm, killing at least 45 people, including a 2-year-old boy, was the remains of Hurricane Ida slamming into the Northeast bringing tornadoes, record rainfall and flooding.
"This was just the tip of the iceberg," said Holloman.
John Abraham, a professor at the University of St. Thomas says powerful, unprecedented weather conditions like this can be expected.
"Storms are getting stronger," said Abraham. "We're seeing a big increase in precipitation and the storms diameter is getting bigger."
Videos show cars submerged in water on highways across NYC and water pouring into subway stations. At least four tornadoes touched down in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and destroyed homes. Many of those who died in New York were found in flooded basement apartments.
"This was a hurricane that is so strong that it can go across the southeast part of the U.S. and still have enough energy to flood the northeast," said Abraham.
Rainfall in Central Park broke a 94-year-old record, while Newark, New Jersey, smashed a 62-year-old record, according to the National Weather Service. Both New York and New Jersey declared a state of emergency because of severe weather.
While Holloman is safe back home after hours stuck on the highway, she's thinking of all those affected by the storms.
"Praying for all of those families," said Holloman.
Biden said his administration is working to help restore power in hard-hit Louisiana and is ready to assist the states slammed with flooding.