Monday, October 29, 2012

Nobody could have predicted

New York City is a mess right now

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.

“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.
What should they have expected?

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.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Here's what Mike Bloomberg said 48 hours before the storm, when all the variables were known:

"President Obama asked Craig Fugate from FEMA to call me earlier in the day and offer any help. I assured him that we had, we think, everything under control but we appreciate the effort. What FEMA really can do is to help those parts of the country that don't have all of the extensive facilities and agencies and practice that New York City does. But I did want to thank them for their offer. ...

"So if things are the way it's planned and if everybody does what they're supposed to do, we will get through this very nicely and look back on it and say maybe we can offer some help to other parts of the area upstate or below us, south of us, which might get hit a lot harder. ...

"All of these health care facilities are taking additional precautions to prepare – including bringing in more staff. A lot of them do have backup generators and any outages are not expected to be more than hours or at most a day or so, so they'll be fine, they think. ...

"We have visited every crane site and every construction site in the city, and with the winds that are expected we think they have appropriately tied down all of the equipment. ..."

Nobody could have known. Nobody. Except those who thought they knew it all.