Con Edison intentionally cut power to tens of thousands of people in an effort to protect equipment from rising flood waters. But the flooding was more extensive than expected.What should they have expected?
“We were expecting tides at 10 to 12 feet,” Mr. Miksad said. “Not only did we exceed those tides, we went up to 14-foot levels, which no one expected,” he said.
Unlike New Orleans, New York City is above sea level. Yet the city is second only to New Orleans in the number of people living less than four feet above high tide — nearly 200,000 New Yorkers, according to the research group Climate Central.The waters on the city’s doorstep have been rising roughly an inch a decade over the last century as oceans have warmed and expanded. But according to scientists advising the city, that rate is accelerating, because of environmental factors, and levels could rise two feet higher than today’s by midcentury. More frequent flooding is expected to become an uncomfortable reality.With higher seas, a common storm could prove as damaging as the rare big storm or hurricane is today, scientists say. Were sea levels to rise four feet by the 2080s, for example, 34 percent of the city’s streets could lie in the flood-risk zone, compared with just 11 percent now, a 2011 study commissioned by the state said.