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.
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.
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.
Sadly, Hill’s words have been proven true.
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.
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.
The lack of an official, coordinated door-to-door response here in downtown, close to some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, is a bit chilling. Currently across the five boroughs almost half a million people are still without power. If you were going to target people most likely to need help when the power and water is out, it would be the elderly residents of high-rise towers like the ones that surround us. According to a 2011 NYU report, the East Village, Lower East Side, and Chinatown have a population of 169,000. Over 34% of the housing is low-income, 60% more than in the rest of Manhattan, comprising tens of thousands of people. And the lights are out for all of them.
Temporary fuel trucks were being deployed in key locations in New York City and Long Island to help provide free gas to emergency vehicles and the public. Cars will be able to fill up directly from the 5,000 gallon trucks, which are being provided by the Department of Defense in coordination with the National Guard. There is a 10 gallon limit per vehicle.
FEMA…began to solicit bids for vendors to provide bottled water for distribution to Hurricane Sandy victims on Friday, sending out a solicitation request for 2.3 million gallons of bottled water at the FedBizOpps.gov website. Bidding closed at 4:30 pm eastern.
In New York’s transportation woes, there is finally a silver lining. New Yorkers are biking and carpooling in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on all modes of motorized transportation.
In the midst of congested transit left in Super Storm Sandy’s wake, more New Yorkers are opting to ride bicycles.
“Yesterday we outsold our busiest summer Saturday,” said Emily Samstag, manager of Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn, speaking to a surge in bike-related sales just one day after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. “Our first customer walked in and said: ‘The subways are down so I have to buy a bike’. That was standard all morning.”
Salt is a strong electrical conductor. Ocean water is full of salt. Once the salt dries, it can wreak havoc as power utilities restore electricity.
Several small explosions rattled storm-weary residents of Peter Cooper Village late Friday night and even blew two manhole covers as Con Edison was restoring power to the area. The latest apparent nastiness from Hurricane Sandy — days after the nightmare storm — caused no injuries, according to paramedics and Con Ed officials on the scene. Officials said the explosions occurred when the utility started restoring electricity and the current hit salt on the power lines. The salt was the remnant of a 10-foot wave of East River water that crashed through the complex at the height of the storm Monday.