Skip to comments.Natural hazards: New York vs the sea (Beware! There's some of the usual agw agitprop.)
Posted on 02/15/2013 1:53:18 AM PST by neverdem
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, scientists and officials are trying to protect the largest US city from future floods.
Joe Leader's heart sank as he descended into the South Ferry subway station at the southern tip of Manhattan in New York. It was 8 p.m. on 29 October, and Hurricane Sandy had just made landfall some 150 kilometres south in New Jersey. As chief maintenance officer for the New York city subway system, Leader was out on patrol. He had hoped that the South Ferry station would be a refuge from the storm. Instead, he was greeted by wailing smoke alarms and the roar of gushing water. Three-quarters of the way down the final set of stairs, he pointed his flashlight into the darkness: seawater had already submerged the train platform and was rising a step every minute or two.
Up until that moment, Leader recalls, standing on the very same steps, I thought we were going to be fine.
Opened in 2009 at a cost of US$545 million, the South Ferry station is now a mess of peeling paint, broken escalators and corroded electrical equipment. Much of Manhattan has returned to normal, but this station, just blocks from one of the world's main financial hubs, could be out of service for 23 years. It is just one remnant of a coastal catastrophe wrought by the largest storm in New York's recorded history.
Sandy represents the most significant test yet of the city's claim to be an international leader on the climate front. Working with scientists over the past decade, New York has sought to gird itself against extreme weather and swelling seas and to curb emissions of greenhouse gases a long-term planning process that few other cities have attempted. But Sandy laid bare the city's vulnerabilities, killing...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
And so New York is vulnerable to major storms. Coastal cities are but no amount of preparation will ever be “enough” or of the right kind.
“He had hoped that the South Ferry station would be a refuge from the storm.”
Why would anyone think that a subway station in a coastal city is a good place to ride out a hurricane?
Not true. NYC itself could be protected for about $8B. The most expensive piece would be a surge barrier across Verazzano Narrows north of the bridge. The other two points east and west would be cheaper. The only catch is that extra storm surge deflected by the barriers would swamp NJ. But tough luck, Manhatten is worth more and costs more to rebuild.
I’m sure NJ would go for that. It might be easier to put stilts under all the buildings.
“The cost of strengthening the city will be astronomical” according to the paid experts in the article.
For the billions they are talking about spending to fortify the area, they could gradually buy out frequently flooded residences, vacation homes, & businesses. Rather than build defenses that must be maintained & improved, parks & wetlands cost little to maintain.
Federal flood insurance is part of the problem. It is a “get out of jail free” card for those that build & live in flood prone areas. It should be changed such that after the 2nd-3rd flood claim the gov’t buys the entire property, which reverts to parks & wetlands forever. Over time, flood insurance claims will become as rare as 100 year storms, & there will be far fewer victims with their entire lives gone.