Hurricane Lee

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:

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The Takeaway

Senate Passes Deal to Avoid Shut Down

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Senate voted 79 to 12 last night in favor of an agreement on spending for disaster relief, that will avert the government shutdown that many feared might happen this week. Funding for government agencies like FEMA will now be extended for six weeks. Senate leaders are hoping the House will pass the deal later this week.

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The Takeaway

The Aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee

Monday, September 05, 2011

It’s now six years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and caused one of the worst natural disasters in the nation’s history. And over the weekend the people of New Orleans and Louisiana braced yet again for another onslaught. Tropical Storm Lee caused torrential downpours across the region and flooding in some low lying communities, such as the town of Jean Lafitte, where mandatory evacuations were in place and the waters rose high.