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NYC, Transit Included, Readies For Hurricane

Friday, August 26, 2011 - 09:16 AM

Worst-case projection of storm surge flooding in Lower Manhattan.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Of all New York City's infrastructure, its underground transit system is especially vulnerable to storm surges produced by hurricanes like the one that is expected to soon work its way up the east coast. Planners agree on this, but not on how best to prepare for what could be more and worse hurricanes in the coming decades as the climate warms and sea levels rise. Here's a reprise of a story about all that, with link to a New York City flood evacuation map.

Malcolm Bowman, an oceanography professor from Stony Brook University in Long Island, recently stood at edge of the Williamsburg waterfront and pointed toward the Midtown skyline. "Looking at the city, with the setting sun behind the Williamsburg Bridge, it's a sea of tranquility," he said. "It's hard to imagine the dangers lying ahead."

But that's his job.

He said that as climate change brings higher temperatures and more violent storms, flooding in parts of the city could become as routine as the heavy snows of this winter. We could even have "flood days," the way we now have snow days, he said. Bowman and other experts say the only way to avoid that fate and keep the city dry is to follow the lead of cities like Amsterdam and Saint Petersburg, Russia, and build movable modern dykes. Either that or retreat from the shoreline.

Higher sea levels will give severe storms much more water to funnel toward the city. Bowman pointed first north, then south, to depict surges of water coming from two directions: through Long Island Sound and down the East River and up through the Verrazano Narrows toward Lower Manhattan. The effect could be worse than anything seen before.

Here is that flood map.

And here is the rest of the story.

 

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