Flooded Battery Park Tunnel after Hurricane Sandy. Image: Timothy Krause via Flickr.
A barrier wall proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers as one of several options being evaluated to shield the New York area from rare storms–which may well become less rare and more destructive with global warming–is the subject of a heated debate among planners and environmental experts. Supporters suggest that a barrier be constructed in the outer New York Harbor where it’s mostly hidden from view, saying it would go the farthest in protecting people, land and valuable landmarks along the waterfront from a storm surge. Others fear the idea is a short-sighted measure that doesn’t address major climate threats–and could even worsen matters by trapping sewage and toxins during flooding from high tides and storm runoff. President Donald Trump, however, remains the sole proponent of the mop-and-bucket approach, as the New York Daily News reports.
What will save us from a tweetstorm?
Since FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) updated its flood-zone maps after Superstorm Sandy, we learned that it could cost the city $5 billion to comply with the new regulations, as 60,000 additional buildings were identified as being within the flood zones. This brings the total to 84,000 buildings worth over $129 billion, according to a new report released by the Office of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.
What does this mean for the city?
Before-and-after views of Staten Island
This week marks the two-year anniversary since Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City and the surrounding coast lines. In its wake, the storm forever altered our coastal areas. These before-and-after satellite images from the Huffington Post taken via Google Earth, show just how dramatic the damage was—and they ask us to consider the progress we’ve made recovering from the destruction over the last two years. Our rebuilding efforts in the post-sandy aftermath have been significant, however our work is far from over.
More details here
Following Superstorm Sandy, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) updated its flood-zone maps for the first time since 1983, more than doubling the included buildings to 70,000. Therefore, many more property owners are facing the decision of whether to stormproof their homes or pay up for insurance premiums that would go up as much as 18%. But going with the former choice is not as easy as one may think.
FEMA guidelines don’t take into account the unique makeup of New York City with its rowhouses and high-rises, so to comply with the current regulations it would cost the city more than $5 billion, according to studies produces by Crain’s. Those who would be absorbing the costs include middle-class homeowners; NYCHA, which owns more than 25% of rental units in the flood zone ;and owners of large apartment towers, which account for 61% of the 5.5 million properties in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. All of these entities must follow the same guidelines as the plan is laid out now, but the city and a group of nonprofits are asking the agency to make changes to the insurance program.
More about the issue ahead