Streams

 

Hurricane Irene

Transportation Nation

From The Archives: Big Storms, Climate Change Imperil Transit

Friday, October 26, 2012

As Hurricane Sandy approaches, we thought of this, our story from a year ago,  in which we reported that if the storm surge had been just a foot higher during Hurricane Irene, New York's east river subway tunnels would have been flooded.   An alarming prospect, but one the federal government warns could be increasingly common -- and costly.

Here's the story:

On the Sunday after Tropical Storm Irene blasted through the five boroughs of New York City, the city exhaled. Huge swaths of Manhattan hadn’t flooded, high winds hadn’t caused widespread damage. Perhaps no one was as relieved as then-MTA CEO Jay Walder, who had just taken the unprecedented step of shutting down the entire transit system.

“The worst fear that we had, which was that the under-river tunnels on the East River would flood with salt water, were not realized. We certainly dodged something there,” Walder said at a post-Irene briefing with city officials.

What the city dodged was the ghost of climate change future — higher sea levels, intense storms, and elevated amounts of precipitation, all of which could combine to cause widespread flooding of the subway system.

Here's the full story:

Read More

Comment

WNYC News

MTA Hopes to Recoup $65M Losses From Irene

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The MTA has submitted claims to insurers and the federal government to recover $65 million in losses it suffered during Tropical Storm Irene last August.

Comment

WNYC News

Catskills Towns Still Bear Scars on Anniversary of Hurricane Irene

Monday, August 27, 2012

Towns in the Catskills are still recovering from Hurricane Irene one year after the storm washed out roads and ripped apart homes and businesses.

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

Severe Weather Events Continue to Cost US: Big $$ to Alabama, Vermont, NY, NJ

Monday, January 09, 2012

Upstate New York roads, as viewed by helicopter (photo by Karen DeWitt/NYS Public Radio/WXXI)

Severe weather events in 2011 -- the worst in history according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- continue to cost the U.S. big bucks.

Tranportation Nation has reported on the costs of climate change, now the U.S. DOT is announcing it's releasing some $1.6 billion  to 30 states.  Vermont, devastated by Hurricane Irene will get $125.6 million, North Dakota $89.1 million for severe flooding, and both New York and New Jersey are getting close to $90  million each.

Full release and list of grantees follow:

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Close to $1.6 Billion in Funding for Repairs to Damaged Roads and Bridges Supplemental Funding from Congress Makes Reimbursement Possible

WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced nearly $1.6 billion to states and territories across the nation to help cover the costs of repairing roads and bridges damaged by a variety of natural disasters.

“Communities from coast to coast are still recovering from disasters that have affected the roads they use, their homes and businesses,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Obama Administration stands ready to provide emergency relief and reimburse these communities for the work that has been done to restore their critical transportation needs.”

Funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Emergency Relief Program was provided by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012.  FHWA will provide a total of $1.58 billion to 30 states, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and federal land management agencies to reimburse them for repairs to roads and bridges caused by storms, flooding, hurricanes and other natural and catastrophic disasters.

“States and communities can rely on the federal government during these critical times,” said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez.  “When disaster strikes, the Department will do all it can to provide help to the affected areas.”

Vermont, hard hit by Hurricane Irene, will receive $125.6 million; North Dakota will receive $89.1 million for the Devils Lake Basin for damage caused by Spring 2011 runoff; and Iowa will receive $37.5 million to repair damage caused by the May 2011 Missouri River flooding.  A complete list of states and funding amounts is listed below.

This money will reimburse states for fixing or replacing highways, bridges and other roadway structures. Costs associated with detours, debris removal and other immediate measures necessary to restore traffic flow in impacted areas are also eligible for reimbursement.

For a state-by-state breakdown click here (http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2012/fhwa0212.html).

 

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Vermont Highway Finally Reopens After Hurricane Irene

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Route 107 in Vermont was washed away by Hurricane Irene. (photo from You Tube video by willebegin)The final stretch of road destroyed by Hurricane Irene is set to reopen this week, four months after the Hurricane wrought havoc on transportation infrastructure all along the Northeast.

Route 107, a major east-west artery follows the course of a river that gushed over its banks during the storm, taking the road with it. You can see video of the damaged Route 107 and other damage  here.

The AP reports: "In a storm that left a dozen Vermont towns cut off from the outside world for days, damaged or destroyed more than 500 miles of roads and 200 bridges, and reshaped much of the low-lying countryside, it was the Route 107 repair that posed the biggest single engineering challenge. The fix included 46 subcontractors and 20,000 hours of heavy equipment time."

Vermont Public Radio reports that rebuilding efforts of homes and other infrastructure is still underway, with some families who lost their homes living in RVs bracing for the cold bite of winter to come.

In the New York area, the Port Jervis line of the Metro-North Railroad took three months to repair. Both that, and the Route 107 rebuilding are evidence of the mounting price tag of climate-related costs for transit and transportation agencies.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Vermont Swiftly Repaired Irene-Damaged Roads; LaHood To Testify About High-Speed Rail Today

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Top stories on TN:

FAA Chief Randy Babbitt is on a leave of absence after being arrested for drunk driving Saturday night. (Link)
The White House declined to call for Babbitt's resignation. (Link)
MIT developed an algorithm to predict which vehicles will run a red light. (Link)

Repairing a post-Hurricane Irene Route 106 in Weathersfield, Vermont (photo courtesy of the Vermont Agency of Transportation)

Vermont’s success in swiftly repairing roads damaged by Hurricane Irene "is a story of bold action and high-tech innovation." (New York Times)

NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan -- "the high priestess of people-friendly cities" -- went on Rock Center with Brian Williams to talk about street redesign. (NBC)

U.S. DOT head Ray LaHood will be on the hill today to testify about the nation's high-speed rail program. (The Hill)

California's high-speed rail program is starting to look iffy. (KALW)

Deepwater Horizon update: BP accused Halliburton of destroying evidence about possible problems with the cement slurry that went into drilling the oil well. (AP via NPR)

A California law going into effect next year puts a statewide cap on the amount of greenhouse gases coming out of smokestacks and tailpipes. (NPR)

NY's MTA is installing more cameras and driver partitions on hundreds of city buses. (New York Post)

England has tabled a decision on whether to begin work on HS2 -- the high-speed rail project running from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds -- until next year. (The Guardian)

Men over 45 are more likely to crash their cars on snowy, icy roads. “There may be a sense of invulnerability with four-wheel drive trucks leading the drivers to not slow down as much as they should," says a researcher who conducted the study. (Chicago Tribune via Inforum)

Sales of GM and Ford cars are on the rise in China. (Marketplace)

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Cuomo delays state's fiscal reporting

Friday, November 04, 2011

By Karen DeWitt, New York Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

Courtesy of the Governor's office.

Governor Cuomo’s budget office delayed releasing its annual mid-year budget report and future financial forecast. They cited uncertainties over the European debt crisis and delays in collection of some business taxes due to two hurricanes that hit the state in late summer for the delay.

The governor’s budget office planned to hold preliminary hearings on next year’s state spending plan during the first week of November. But the hearings have been postponed, as have the mid-year budget report and financial forecast.

“There are a number of factors that we’re weighing, there’s significant volatility in the market right now,” said Cuomo. “We want to make sure we have the best information possible, because we’re going to start to make real decisions based on this information.”

Those decisions include how much to spend on key programs like school aid and health care, the largest portions of the budget. After Cuomo and the state legislature cut $10 billion dollars in last year’s budget, they promised they would increase spending on schools and health programs by 4% in the next budget.

In addition, the cost of two devastating hurricanes that hit New York in late summer have yet to be tallied, says the state budget office. Cuomo estimates the total cost at more than a billion dollar, and granted business affected by flooding from the storms a delay in filing their quarterly state income taxes. Payments due September 15th were not received until November 1st.

Read More

Comment

Features

Local Farmers Import Pumpkins From Out of State

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin farmers have been forced to look out of state the make sure they have enough vegetables for the season after a soggy summer dampened prospects for a fruitful fall.

Comments [1]

Features

Natural Disasters Reshape Animal Rescue

Monday, October 03, 2011

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 fore-grounded the concept of disaster preparedness, but it was Hurricane Katrina, four years later, that redefined the idea of animal rescue. Sept. 11, 2001 gave us the Department of Homeland Security; Katrina, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, which was signed into law in October of 2006.

Comments [5]

Transportation Nation

NY MTA to Spend $50 Million on Flood-Damaged Commuter Tracks

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Flooding and other hurricane damage on the Port Jervis train line.

The New York MTA says it will cost $50 million to repair a rail line in Rockland and Orange counties that was badly damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.

2,300 riders a day use the line, making it one of the mostly lightly used rail lines in the network.  (For our previous reporting on the decision-making that went into the decision to rebuild the line, click here.)

Train service on the Port Jervis line will resume in peak periods and many off-peak periods in December.

Engineers say flooding from the storm washed away thousands of tons of ballast and earth that supported the tracks along one 14-mile stretch in particular, where the rails are badly twisted and suspended in mid-air.

Trains on the line have been largely replaced by buses. The MTA says the replacement bus service will add another 10 million dollars to the tab by the time all service is restored to normal next fall.


Read More

Comment

The Empire

Irene cost the city at least $55 million: NYC Office of Emergency Management

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The city agency responsible for literally weathering the storm, the mayor's Office of Emergency Management, just sent out a note. According to their figures, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene cost the city at least $55 million:

Based on preliminary information we have gathered from City agencies, we estimate that the costs of the response, recovery and damage to public infrastructure are at least $55 million. I emphasize that $55 million is a preliminary figure based only on the information we have been able to collect so far. Many City agencies continue to collect cost information and we expect agencies will report additional costs.

Read More

Comment

WNYC News

LIPA Facing Large Bill to Get Lights On After Irene

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Long Island Power Authority is estimating that the cost of restoring power 523,000 of its customers in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene is about $176 million.

Comment

Transportation Nation

MTA to Spend Millions on Port Jervis Line Repair

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flooding and other hurricane damage on the Port Jervis train line. (Photo by NY MTA.)

(New York, NY - WNYC) The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is getting ready to invest millions of dollars to repair the Port Jervis train line on the western side of the Hudson River. The authority is paying an engineering firm $500,000 to figure out how to repair damage from Tropical Storm Irene.

That raises the question: why is the authority prepared to spend so much to bring back a relatively lightly used transit option?

About 2,300 riders take the Port Jervis train through Orange County on an average weekday. That's just a small portion of the thousands of riders who used to take the 37 bus lines in New York City that were cut last summer to save money. The B69 and B71 bus lines alone, which served Park Slope and Downtown Brooklyn, carried 2,300 weekday passengers.

MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said the authority has no choice but to make the repairs to the Port Jervis line--and to run 55 buses among eight stations, seven days a week, until the line is fixed. She couldn't put a price tag on the substitute bus service but said it was attracting about half the number of passengers who rode the  train before the hurricane.

The storm washed out 14 miles of track, and Anders said there are no alternative transit options like there are in the five boroughs. "Compared to Brooklyn, Orange County's choices are very limited," she said.

Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said he's conflicted: Port Jervis's ridership is low, but he agrees Metro North is the only way for many commuters to get to Manhattan. "It's the only means of transport for these people," he said.

Anders she said the engineering firm will come up with a price tag for repairing the track by the end of the month.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Empire

Bloomberg's approval rating goes positive thanks to Irene

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getty

New Yorkers are back on Mayor Bloomberg's side, thanks to his handling of Hurricane Irene according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning. The mayor's job approval rating is up to 54 percent from 45 percent in late July. The vast majority of those polled -- 86 percent -- approved of the mayor's handling of Hurricane Irene.

“Maybe it was the decisive preparations for Irene – Bloomberg’s job approval has moved up nicely.  As usual, Manhattan likes him best of all,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement. “This survey was conducted after Hurricane Irene and during the storm about Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith’s arrest – but maybe that second storm is a tempest in a teapot.

“The critics cried ‘overkill!’  But most people agreed with the mayor, ‘better safe than sorry.’  Overwhelmingly, Bloomberg’s handling of Irene gets high marks.”

Read More

Comments [2]

WNYC News

Surf Competition Comes to Long Island, Despite Storm Damage

Saturday, September 03, 2011

A major surf competition with some of the world's best surfers — and $1 million in prize money — is descending on Long Island this weekend, despite the damage from Tropical Storm Irene.

Comments [1]

WNYC News

Cuomo Slams Long Island Electricity Providers for Outages

Friday, September 02, 2011

With tens of thousands of households still without power, Governor Andrew Cuomo ripped into the utility responsible for Long Island's electricity network.

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

As Tri-State Rebuilds Post-Irene, Politics of Disaster Relief Come Into Focus

Friday, September 02, 2011

Right now FEMA is being suffocated by this stupid idea that the more you cut will solve our problems. We're cutting and losing jobs. Our people need help immediately. They don't want to hear a debate between Democrats and Republicans about when should we cut and when shouldn't we.

—U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ 8th), who serves on House Budget and Ways and Means Committees, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

Comment

Features

New Lamb 'Irene Hope' Born at Central Park Zoo

Friday, September 02, 2011

While Tropical Storm Irene was churning up the East Coast, a surprising thing happened. A new lamb was born in a stable in the Central Park Zoo. According to the zoo, it is rare for a lamb to be born at this time of year.

Comments [2]

NYPR Archives & Preservation

WNYC's New AM Transmitter, 1937

Friday, September 02, 2011

Halloween, 1937: WNYC new WPA-built transmitter comes on line. It has a micro-ray system, the only one in use outside of the Vatican."
Read More

Comment

The Takeaway

Why Insurance Companies Aren't Worried About Irene

Friday, September 02, 2011

Tropical Storm Irene recently stormed across the northeastern United States, leaving somewhere billions of dollars in damages in its wake. But it won't be insurance companies footing the bill — most likely, it'll be taxpayers. This is partly due to the fact that most people that the storm affected don't have insurance that covers floods, but the federal government's insurance program is also billions of dollars in debt. 

Comments [2]