resilience reporter

resilience starts with information

Five Years After Sandy, New York’s Hurricane Defenses Are MIA

In New York City, rising seas could cause Sandy-like floods every five years.

Superstorm Sandy was 1,000 miles wide, the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, and produced the worst flood in New York City history when it hit five years ago this week. Since then, the city has spent billions upgrading infrastructure and preparing for the next big hurricane.

But in the coming decades, the city could see this kind of flooding on a routine basis. According to a new study out Monday, sea-level rise could lead to Sandy-like flood events every five years starting around mid-century.

The study, written by some of the world’s most renowned experts on hurricanes and Antarctica’s melting ice sheet, provides fresh evidence that sea-level rise will dominate New York City’s future, overwhelming any effect from the changing frequency or intensity of storms.

There’s no doubt that rising seas are already boosting big coastal floods, a threat that’s poised to get worse. Because of enormous glaciers melting in Antarctica and Greenland, sea-level rise…


Five Years After Sandy, New York’s Hurricane Defenses Are MIA


Multimillion-dollar flood protection systems for New York City were supposed to be in place by 2016. Take a guess at how many are finished.

About seven-and-a-half months after Sandy, the enemy this time was a changing, warming planet. Scientists say it exacerbated the storm, which left 44 dead and caused $19 billion in damage and lost economic activity.

Now, as the city marks Sandy’s five-year anniversary, it feels the urgency Bloomberg demanded has faded when it comes to completing the 438-page resiliency plan the mayor unveiled at the Navy Yard that day.

It called for five multimillion-dollar “flood protection systems”—engineered projects to block or divert water surge—either with movable panels, or something more permanent. City planners chose the locations for their vulnerability to higher sea levels: Lower Manhattan, Hospital Row (Manhattan), East Harlem, Red Hook in Brooklyn, and the Hunts Point section of the Bronx.

The deadlines for all? Completion by 2016.  Are they built? Not even close…



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