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Hurricane-proofing New York City: Dutch-style storm-surge barriers across Arthur Kill, the Verrazano Narrows, and from Sandy Hook to the Rockaways could protect the city. The $15-billion Dutch-style storm surge control system that could prevent Americaa€™s biggest city from flooding next time. Whether by coincidence or by design, the former Dutch colony of New Amsterdam turns out to have a lot in common, geographically speaking, with the old Amsterdam.
New York, like Holland, became a shipping center in an era of shallower boats—a period when extensive water frontage against a not-very-deep harbor was a key economic edge. The Dutch have responded to this problem with an impressively elegant solution: Make the coast shorter.
An even more relevant precedent is the massive Delta Works series of dams and flood control devices in the southwestern Netherlands.
Consequently, key elements of the Works including the Maeslantkering and the Oosterscheldekering have moving parts. Something to note is that despite its misfortune in Hurricane Sandy, the New York Harbor region is almost uniquely lucky in being a place that can feasibly contemplate these kind of costly defenses. New York City has filed a technical appeal of the Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS). The impact of the technical and scientific errors identified in the City’s analysis is significant. First, homeowners in the SFHA who invest in their homes could end up building or rebuilding to excessive heights at extra cost, with additional impacts on neighborhood character.
Many homeowners and businesses underpaid or not paid at all from their Sandy damage are still feeling the pain trying to get back on their feet. As founder and president of Merlin Law Group, Chip Merlin has dedicated his practice to the representation and advocacy of insurance policyholders in disputes with insurance companies nationwide. Merlin Law Group offers legal services related to insurance litigation, property loss, hurricane damage, bad faith, denied claims and coverage disputes. Union Station flood funnies have, well, flooded the Internet in the wake of today's shutdown of Toronto's busiest transit hub.
Joining the shark and Jaws-themed memes are a glut of Rob Ford images, Titanic jokes, as well as some random one-off stuff. Instead of frowning and complaining about it, you guys made it hilariously entertaining to read about.
If this flood happened during the Miller years, and somebody photoshopped his fat ass into the picture, you wouldn't show the pictures and the creator of the picture would be villified as a right-wing idiot. I agree with other poster that the gun one should be removed especially after the events this weekend. How would you like your face to be in those same pictures rather than Rob Ford - I'm talking about the one that's almost completely naked. It would be immense if it wasn't fake, imagine popping Christmas shopping and seeing sharks at the bottom of the escalator!
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Adam Sobel: “I was inside all day Monday, watching the tide gauge data at the Battery along with all the other observations. For years before Hurricane Sandy charged ashore on Monday, researchers from the Earth Institute knew what was coming.
As the region struggles to recover from this “superstorm,” we asked several experts from the Earth Institute to consider the lessons we can learn as we move forward.
Art Lerner-Lam watched the storm surge lap at the front door of his apartment building in Hell’s Kitchen on Monday, at the boundary of the evacuation zone.
Scientist Klaus Jacob of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has been predicting for a decade that New York could suffer severe flooding from a major storm such as Sandy. Lisa Goddard, a climate scientist and director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, sees in the storm’s aftermath an opportunity to change course.
Radley Horton worked on a 2011 report that advised New York City on climate and weather resilience. Elliott Sclar, a professor of urban planning, also considers himself lucky: A resident of Larchmont, he lost power, heat and his landline phone during the storm. John Mutter was “still in the cold and dark,” as he wrote us on Friday about the storm’s longer-term impacts. But aside from Sandy’s casualties, he said, the city did not do so well with infrastructure, as has been painfully obvious to so many people.
Early results from a survey Orlove and colleagues did in the days leading up to the storm suggest many people in the region were under-prepared.

Some infrastructure fixes are relatively easy, if perhaps expensive, he said—for instance, moving power stations away from the shoreline. We have the largest print-on-demand fulfillment network in the world with 15 manufacturing centers in five different countries. If you can't find the answers to your question on our FAQ page, please submit a support ticket, and our staff will respond to your question(s) right away. Everyone knows that urban space is hard to come by, leading to elevated parks like the Highline in New York City that take advantage of what little real estate remains available in ever-more-dense downtown areas. This fantastic floating park idea by GRO Architects addresses these two urban problems at once by generating natural energy from the very waves it rides upon while also providing additional open green public space for pedestrians right out on the water.
Creative contemporary domestic designs, from unique home architecture to custom interior, furniture & DIY design ideas.Find inspiration via plans & pictures of compact modular mini-houses, small-space apartments, all-in-one bathroom & bedroom projects & more.Upcycled cargo shipping container houses, to space-saving furniture, ultra-modern interiors & futuristic homes! The beaches are in the farthest-off parts of the outer boroughs, and the population centers in Manhattan and Brooklyn are oriented inward rather than toward the waterfronts.
In the wake of a 1916 flood, they erected the Zuiderzee Works to turn a former inlet of the North Sea into a nice tame lake.
These works protect, among other things, the enormous port of Rotterdam, meaning that they can’t completely sever the mainland from the sea the way Afsluitdijk did.
They remain open most of the time, preserving the sea route to Rotterdam and the saline quality of the Oostershelde inlet. The Rockaways and the farther-east barrier islands off the coast of Long Island would still be subjected to potentially devastating impacts, as would the Jersey Shore communities.
Manhattan, Brooklyn, Hudson County, and the northern coasts of Queens and Staten Island are some of the most densely populated and capital-rich terrain in the entire United States, meaning that the per capita cost of tens of billions in flood control infrastructure is tolerable.
FIRMS are official maps of a community that displays the floodplains which FEMA then uses to determine your base flood elevation or risk premium zone.
Specifically, FEMA’s Preliminary FIRMs overstate Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) by more than 2 feet in many areas across New York City and misrepresent the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) by 35 percent, unnecessarily putting approximately 26,000 buildings and 170,000 residents in the SFHA.
Second, many homeowners in the SFHA would be asked to pay flood insurance premiums based on incorrect BFEs, causing an affordability challenge.
FEMA feels it’s a good idea to let the policyholder make up for their shortcomings by arbitrarily creating maps to force more people to pay flood premiums. The law firm serves residential and commercial policyholders in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, California, Arizona and the rest of the entire US. Given that this story can only have so much more life left in it, we thought we'd roundup some of the better ones that we've seen today. So please bring others to our attention via the comments, tweet them our way or add them to the blogTO Flickr pool.
In a rapidly urbanizing world, where hundreds of millions of people now live in low-lying coastal areas, those scientists have been urging policymakers to appreciate the threats posed by such natural disasters and find ways to make our cities more resilient. Lerner-Lam serves as deputy director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and also directs the Earth Institute’s Center for Hazards and Risk Research.
An expert in the physics of weather, he works at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and in the Columbia University Department of Applied Physics and Mathematics.
And he knew within inches just how high the storm surge would come at his house, in the Piermont section of Orangeburg, NY. You don’t think about it until the electricity is out, but then you look up and realize that your town is powered on 19th century technology. He is a research scientist with the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Center for Climate Systems Research. But damage at his home was minor, and, he said, “we do have hot water, an operative cooktop and a fireplace with a reasonable supply of wood. The first is to continue doing the important work that we do, as much of it directly relates to the challenges of a changing climate.
He works at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions studying people’s perceptions and how they respond to such crises. The opinions expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Earth Institute or Columbia University.
Moreover, it is incredibly difficult to generate power via traditional means within cities due not only to land value but also the potential pollution and other disruptive impacts. Turbines that turn out to be the very housing of the interior portions of this park rotate silently around people as they pass through.While it may look futuristic and rather artistic, the forms of this unusual design idea are in fact driven by and optimized based on the physical requirements of the power-harvesting turbines. But the devastating flooding of Hurricane Sandy is a powerful reminder that the reason New York was built where it is was take advantage of a good harbor and extensive coastline. The urban growth process forced extensive development on low-lying terrain reclaimed from the sea.
Those are the kind of barriers New York would need to seriously reduce flood risk without devastating the local ecology or unduly disrupting the important working port in Elizabeth, N.J.

But even if that turns out to be a substantial underestimate, it’s a bargain compared to the cost of widespread flooding.
And third, many homeowners that would otherwise not be in the SFHA, would be required to pay for flood insurance at higher rates, further exacerbating that affordability challenge.
For now, this appeal process could take years to complete, but thankfully in the meantime, the maps will not change.
Getting the most traction so far is the image above, which is actually a pretty darn nifty Photoshop job that fooled a few people (trust me, check Twitter). As is always the case with this sort of thing, giving credit where it is due poses a challenge. He and colleagues started closely examining the forecasts and observations rolling in, and met as a group on Friday to talk about it. But despite his efforts over the past decade to literally lift up and armor his home against flooding, Sandy hit him and the surrounding community on the Hudson River hard.
Most people responded to the warnings and understood the uncertainties that were communicated, which is a strong testament to how far the climate community has come in building a climate-literate (or at least weather-literate) public. And similarly, in a place like New York City that is susceptible to storm surge and flooding, why are so many power systems below ground? To pick one example in what is really a system: With electricity out, the transportation sector suffered as less gasoline could be distributed, and the telecommunications sector suffered as cell phones failed.
This is in part the case because Sandy was reasonably democratic in the distribution of its devastation. But I think we need to add more focus on looking at the specific ways in which theses climate events impact the infrastructure and shelter requirements of the metropolitan regions of the world. In theory, the aesthetic is motivated largely by the eco-needs of this sustainable design, but in practice it seems clear that it is also being made to look very very cool. And while the city continues to be a relatively unlikely place for a hurricane to make landfall, the combination of more frequent storms and higher baseline sea levels that we can expect thanks to climate change means New Yorkers need to prepare for these kind of storms to arrive multiple times in the course of any given person’s lifetime. You can enjoy the waves and the view, but the geography won’t support robust anti-storm engineering.
A 2011 study of a catastrophic hurricane scenario suggested the tab for rebuilding transportation infrastructure alone could run as high as $55 billion.
The links affiliated with each photo refer to how we came across them, but we'd be happy to alter the credits to reflect who it is that created the image in the first place. For many of the problems that confront society, it is often easy for elites to find ways to insulate themselves from the consequences; but not this time. Beyond hoping that the rest of the country embraces liberal policies on greenhouse gas emissions, the city ought to look to its former colonial overlords in the Netherlands for some ideas. The shallow harbor means a proportionately larger storm surge, and the reclaimed land is prone to flooding.
The system would, however, substantially reduce the exposure of southern Brooklyn, eastern Staten Island, and Raritan Bay communities in New Jersey. That’s to say nothing of the indirect economic cost of having the New York City Subway, three commuter rail networks, and the PATH train under the Hudson out of commission for days.
As the most densely populated part of Europe, it’s the part that can afford these kinds of investments. Worst of all, the very extensive irregular waterfront is difficult to defend with seawalls and flood barriers. Better, it would essentially immunize Manhattan, Red Hook, Dumbo, Green Point, Long Island City, LaGuardia Airport, Hoboken, and other parts of Hudson County, N.J. And while power outages due to downed power lines are a constant of any storm anywhere, downtown Manhattan is currently blacked out despite buried lines because flooding destroyed a power station located right by the East River. Greater New York, similarly, is by far the densest agglomeration of people and economic activity in North America. The interstate nature of the project and the fact that both termini of the Gateway system would be on land controlled by the National Park Service means there’s room for a federal role in safeguarding the city. But it would be pennywise and pound-foolish for New York and New Jersey to wait around for some kind of federal handout. The bill for defending the area against a recurrence of Sandy or the likelihood that sooner or later an even bigger storm will hit is large, but the price is worth paying.

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