Ida extended its destructive course through the eastern half of the country overnight Thursday, dropping drenching rains from Maryland to Massachusetts that caused deadly flooding, washed out roads, and even touched off several tornadoes.
After Ida hit the Gulf Coast as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the United States, its remnants dumped more than 9 inches of rain in some areas of New England, with more than a dozen communities receiving more than 7 inches. Flooding washed out roads in Wareham and Portsmouth, R.I., and in Falmouth left so many roads impassable that residents were asked to stay home.
Ida’s greatest devastation along the East Coast was concentrated on a stretch from Maryland to Connecticut, where at least 45 people were killed on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. More than 40 people drowned in their homes and cars, including a Connecticut state trooper whose cruiser was swept away in flood waters in Woodbury.
At least 12 people died in New York City, officials said, 11 in flooded basement apartments. There were at least 23 deaths in New Jersey and at least five people in Pennsylvania, including one by a falling tree and another who drowned in his car after helping his wife to escape, authorities said.
On Cape Cod, the state’s sixth tornado of the year touched down overnight in Dennis, with winds reportedly nearing 75 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said. Throughout the day, crews worked to clear trees and branches the storm had scattered across local roadways.
“We had some pretty heavy winds on the north side” of town, said Christopher Boutin, a Dennis fire lieutenant. “It took down some trees in residential areas.”
Further inland, New Bedford was deluged by nearly 10 inches of rain, causing flooding in four areas and closing all city beaches over water quality concerns.
The storm caused road closures on Route 24 in Fall River, the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston, the harbor tunnels, and the Southeast Expressway, along with multiple locations in and around Worcester, transportation officials said.
“They are too numerous to count, partial lane closures,’’ said Jonathan Gulliver, MassDOT administrator. “They are all over the place.”
Gulliver said road crews rescued a small number of drivers who had chosen to drive into standing water in underpasses in Worcester and Fall River. No injuries were reported.
Flooding caused problems for Amtrak, the commuter rail, and the MBTA’s Orange Line — all of which canceled or rerouted service due to flooded tracks. Amtrak suspended service from Boston to Washington for the day.
MBTA spokeswoman Lisa Battiston said on Thursday afternoon that crews were working to “return Orange Line service between Jackson Square and Ruggles as quickly and safely as possible.”
In Falmouth, crews evacuated rooms on a low-lying floor of the Admiralty Inn and Suites after water began pouring in through the windows.
There was also a near-miss situation in Dartmouth, when a tree crashed down and barely missed a woman’s car, officials said.
“We got pretty lucky,” said Tim Andre, chief of Dartmouth fire’s second district.
In Wareham, a beachside road took on so much rainfall, a 12-foot chunk of pavement collapsed, leaving a gaping hole. Runoff had streamed down from a nearby hill and eroded the sand underneath the road, said Assistant Fire Chief John Kelley. The hole was around 10 feet deep.
“We were inundated with so much water,” he said. “It just came right down and washed the road completely away.”
In Mattapoisett, fire crews pumped water from the basements of numerous homes. In one home, the basement was filled with 7 feet of flood water, Mattapoisett Fire Chief Andrew Murray said.
In Rhode Island, a section of Fairview Lane in Portsmouth collapsed and several rivers neared moderate flood stage. But the state was largely spared the major power outages it experienced during Tropical Storm Henri last month.
Hurricane Ida battered the Louisiana coast on Sunday with Category 4 winds and torrential rains. It was the fifth most powerful storm to strike the US mainland. On Thursday, the main airport in New Orleans opened, but most homes remained without power.
Since Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center had warned of the potential for “significant and life-threatening flash flooding” in the mid-Atlantic region and New England. Still, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the storm’s strength took them by surprise.
“We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m. last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level of water to the streets of New York,” said Hochul, a Democrat who became governor last week after former governor Andrew Cuomo resigned.
De Blasio said he received a forecast on Wednesday predicting 3 to 6 inches of rain over the course of the day. Instead, Central Park got 3.15 inches in just one hour, surpassing the previous one-hour record of 1.94 inches during Tropical Storm Henri. In total, the remnants of Ida dumped over 9 inches of rain onto parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and nearly as much on Staten Island.
In Washington, President Biden assured Northeast residents that federal first responders were on the ground to help clean up after this latest disaster. So far, Ida has left roughly 1 million people without power, potentially for weeks to come in some areas.
Despite the onslaught of wind and rain, sunny skies returned in many areas by late morning Thursday, and fairly clear skies are expected in Massachusetts for Labor Day weekend, although forecasters warned about a possibility of showers on Sunday.
“Afternoon high temperatures likely to top out in the mid to upper 70s” on Friday and Saturday, they wrote, as high pressure building behind the remnants of Ida brings “sunny skies and early fall like conditions to southern New England.”
Travis Andersen, Brian Amaral, Carlos R. Muñoz, and Amanda Milkovits of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Andrew Brinker contributed to this story. Material from the Associated Press was used.