Florida Beachgoers Cling to a Right to Make the Sand Their Driveway | The New York Times

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Beach driving, although popular among locals and Orlando visitors, has long been a subject of dispute. Environmentalists dislike it, saying it harms plant and animal life. They threatened to sue over sea turtles, which nest in the sand, and the county negotiated an agreement. Cars must now stay clear of nesting areas.

Others see such driving as an unnecessary danger. The beach has grown more crowded in spots because it is narrower than before and only 17 miles are open to cars. Since 2005, three people have been killed on the beaches, including two children, and 67 have been injured, according to Volusia County records.

Read more here.

Population Growth and Climate Change Fuels Coastal Flooding Risks | TIME.com

The Nature Climate Change study looked at both present and projected future flood losses in the 136 largest coastal cities in the world, looking at their financial risks both in absolute terms—taking into account protections like sea walls and dikes—and as a percentage of the city’s GDP. The cities ranked as most at risk today range from Guangzhou in southern China to Mumbai in India to, yes, New York City. What those cities tend to have in common is high wealth and population levels and relatively little flooding protection. (By contrast, Dutch cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam—which are extremely flood-prone geographically—aren’t found on the list because the Netherlands government has invested heavily in coastal protection.) Three American cities—Miami, New York and New Orleans—are responsible for 31% of the total losses across the 136 cities surveyed in 2005. When it comes to losses as a percentage of total city GDP—which gives the very richest cities like New York an advantage—Guangzhou, New Orleans and Guayaquil in Ecuador are most at risk.

via Population Growth and Climate Change Fuels Coastal Flooding Risks | TIME.com.

FEMA teams told to ‘sightsee’ as Sandy victims suffered | Fox News

Hurry up and wait.

That’s what first responders were left to do after being deployed by FEMA to assist in the storm-ravaged areas in the initial days after superstorm Sandy, FoxNews.com has learned. A FEMA worker who spoke to FoxNews.com described a chaotic scene at New Jersey’s Fort Dix, where emergency workers arrived as the storm bore down on the Atlantic Coast. The worker said officials at the staging area were unprepared and told the incoming responders there was nothing for them to do for nearly four days.

“They told us to hurry, hurry, hurry,” the worker, who works at the agency’s headquarters in Washington and volunteered to deploy for the storm recovery effort. “We rushed to Fort Dix, only to find out that our liaison didn’t even know we were coming.”

“The regional coordinator even said to us, ‘I don’t know why you were rushed here because we don’t need you,’” said the worker, who spoke out of frustration with the lack of planning and coordination following the devastating storm.

via EXCLUSIVE: FEMA teams told to 'sightsee' as Sandy victims suffered | Fox News.

New York Failed to Heed Advice from Local Storm Experts: Build Sea Walls to Avoid Floods – NYTimes.com

This article appeared on September 10, 2011 in the New York Times, calling for swift action on building disaster-mitigating infrastructure such as “sea walls” around New York City, to prevent Sandy-force hurricane damage post-Irene one year before. As this article shows, one year and almost two months before Superstorm Sandy hit, storm experts were already worried about how vulnerable New York and its environs were to increasingly-violent coastal storm events, now rendered even more so in Sandy’s wake. While some planning experts are calling for 100-year planning horizons, the city had been in the process of spending more than $2 billion over the course of 18 years, clearly a drop in the needs bucket, and too late for Sandy and its aftermath just one year later.

In this Aug. 28, 2011, file photo, a biker makes his way around a taxi stranded in floodwaters of Hurricane Irene, downgraded to a tropical storm, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

Only a year ago, [city officials] point out, the city shut down the subway system and ordered the evacuation of 370,000 people as Hurricane Irene barreled up the Atlantic coast. Ultimately, the hurricane weakened to a tropical storm and spared the city, but it exposed how New York is years away from — and billions of dollars short of — armoring itself. “They lack a sense of urgency about this,” said Douglas Hill, an engineer with the Storm Surge Research Group at Stony Brook University, on Long Island. Instead of “planning to be flooded,” as he put it, city, state and federal agencies should be investing in protection like sea gates that could close during a storm and block a surge from Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean into the East River and New York Harbor.

via New York Faces Rising Seas and Slow City Action – NYTimes.com.

Sadly, Hill’s words have been proven true.

Superstorm Sandy stops filming of Noah’s Ark

In what could be termed an ironic case of life imitating art, filming of a biblical epic telling the story of Noah and his ark was put on hold this week due to Superstorm Sandy.

Darren Aronofsky’s film, starring Russell Crowe as Noah, was due to be filmed on Monday at locations in New York.

Cast and crew stayed away following warnings about the path of the storm, and two arks built for the production were docked, one in Brooklyn and the other in Oyster Bay in Long Island, an area hit by the storm.

via Superstorm Sandy stops filming of Aronofsky's Noah's Ark epic | The Jewish Chronicle.

Haiti: 1.8 Million People Impacted By Sandy, According to UN

Around 1.8 million Haitians have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, according to data collected by the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The number comes after an earlier report saying 1.2 million Haitians faced food insecurity as a result of the storm, which killed 60 people in Haiti.

Up to 2 million people are at risk of malnutrition in Haiti, according to Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the OCHA.

The OCHA, which has expressed continued concern for the nearly 350,000 Haitians still living in tent camps for displaced persons from the 2010 earthquake, said that while most tent residents that had been evacuated before the storm returned home, around 1,500 people remain in 15 hurricane shelters in Haiti.

Late last week, a spokesperson for the UN World Health Organization said there was limited access to health services and restocking supplies due to impassable rivers and damaged and obstructed roads.

The WHO also warned that poor sanitary conditions could increase the risk of cholera transmission, which has reportedly already seen a rise since Sandy.

via Haiti: 1.8 Million People Impacted By Sandy, According to UN.

Sandy Victims to Confront Cold, Another Storm | Common Dreams

Cold temperatures and a Nor’easter loom over Sandy survivors still without power and heat. Temperatures dipped down to 39 in New York City Saturday night and are expected to get even colder Sunday night. Weather Underground co-founder Dr. Jeff Masters expects the mid-Atlantic and New England to face an early-season Nor’easter on Wednesday bringing strong winds and heavy rains to areas still affected by Hurricane Sandy.

via Sandy Victims to Confront Cold, Another Storm | Common Dreams.

Fun Town Pier at Seaside Heights Destroyed | 6abc.com

The Fun Town Pier in Seaside Heights is now a pile of twisted metal and broken rides lying on the beach as waves lap over it.

It’s one of two piers destroyed in hurricane Sandy where the iconic Ferris wheels seem to be the only thing left standing. “I think anybody who’s ever been to Seaside or grew up here loves this place; this the way I make my living and a lot of other people make their living. They’ll be back,” arcade worker Helen Stewart said. It’s hard to conceive of how long that could take. Seaside Heights and nearby towns are under martial law.

via Seaside Heights residents wait to see what remains | 6abc.com.

New Jersey agonizes over whether to rebuild shore – Salon.com

The phrase “Jersey Shore” is taking on a new meaning, emblematic of disaster recovery.

…environmentalists and shoreline planners urged the state to think about how – and if – to redevelop the shoreline as it faces an even greater threat of extreme weather.

“The next 50 to 100 years are going to be very different than what we’ve seen in the past 50 years,” said S. Jeffress Williams, a scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Woods Hole Science Center in Massachusetts.

The sea level is rising fast, and destructive storms are occurring more frequently, said Williams, who expects things to get even worse.

He and other shoreline advocates say the state should consider how to protect coastal areas from furious storms when they rebuild it, such as relocating homes and businesses farther from the shore, building more seawalls and keeping sand dunes high.

How to rebuild after the disaster is becoming an issue even as New Jersey assesses its damage.

via New Jersey agonizes over whether to rebuild shore – Salon.com.