‘Politicians are wrong’ to blame forecasters for inaccurate predictions of Ida’s threats, says former meteorologist

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Gary Szatkowski, who was a top federal forecaster in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy, called out New York politicians for suggesting that forecasters were unable to predict the times and intensity of Ida‘s threats.

“The politicians are wrong,” Szatkowski said during a Friday evening interview on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.”  ”There was a lot of warning, there were a lot of forecasts, a lot of warnings issued with regards to Ida as it came into the region with the potential for heavy rainfall.”

At least 13 people in the New York City area were killed as the remnants of Hurricane Ida slammed the city with record rain and flooding. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated Friday that city officials had no idea what was about to hit New York on Wednesday night. 

“Here’s what we did not know, that we would have literally shocking and unprecedented rainfall,” de Blasio said during a media availability. ”We had a one-hour period Wednesday night that set the all-time record for a single hour in the history, the recorded history of New York City, and no one projected that coming.”

Szatkowski pointed to accurate predictions from meteorologists and weather experts ahead of the storm for dangerous, even fatal rainfall in the New York area

He also noted that New York officials could have simply “looked to their west” to see what was happening and deliver warnings to residents hours before the rain landed in the city.  

“There was flash flooding, torrential rainfall, water rescues first, in Pennsylvania, then into Philadelphia itself, and then to New Jersey, and then it came into New York City, and there is hours and hours, you could watch this coming toward New York City, and be prepared and be aware of what was about to happen,” said Szatkowski, a former meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Mayor de Blasio’s office did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment

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