The City That Plans to be Flooded

By: Douglas Hill , 2:22 PM GMT on December 02, 2011

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A guest post by Douglas Hill, a consulting engineer and an adjunct lecturer at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University in New York.

Hurricane Irene, remember? Irene, diminished to a mere tropical storm when it struck New York City, came and went, soon disappearing from the news. But think back to August 26 when Irene, a Category 3 hurricane with winds of more than 110 miles per hour, was approaching the North Carolina coast and headed directly for New York City. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called a news conference to order 370,000 people to evacuate their homes. Then he stepped aside, and MTA chairman Jay Walder stepped to the microphone and announced that public transportation--buses as well as trains--was being shut down.


Figure 1. GOES-East visible satellite image of Irene taken at 7:45 am EDT on Sunday, August 28, 2011. At the time, Irene was a tropical storm with 65 mph winds, making landfall on Long Island, New York. Image credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization laboratory.

Evacuation without transportation: a novel concept that the mayor described as "preparing for the worst and hoping for the best." Fortunately, hoping for the best worked.

Unfortunately, the City is still hoping for the best, and it is not preparing for the worst. The coastal storm plan of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) includes strategies for storm tracking, public information, evacuation procedures, people with special needs, recovery, and restoration, but nothing to prevent flooding.

In other words, New York City is planning to be flooded--and according to the National Hurricane Center, it will be. Based on the historical record, hurricanes of Categories 1, 2 and 3 will strike the New York region on an average of every 17, 39 and 68 years, respectively. The City has been overdue for a Category 1 hurricane--Irene should have been no surprise--and we may expect hurricanes of Categories 2 and 3 within the next decade or two. In testimony to a U.S. Senate committee, Max Mayfield, the former director of the National Hurricane Center, said, "It is not a question of if a major hurricane will strike the New York area, but when" (his emphasis.)

The greatest potential for loss of life from a hurricane has historically been from the storm surge. If the eye of a Category 3 hurricane crossed the New Jersey shore, the surge could reach 24 feet--compared with 4.5 feet in Hurricane Irene's--flooding the World Trade Center site and Wall Street, with City Hall resting on a separate island south of the rest of Manhattan. The ripples from a crippled financial district in lower Manhattan would be felt worldwide. In a severe hurricane, the OEM has estimated that up to three million people would have to evacuate, if that can be imagined.



Figure 2. The height above ground that a mid-strength Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds would push a storm surge into New York City in a worst-case scenario. The image was generated using the primary computer model used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to forecast storm surge--the Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model. The accuracy of the SLOSH model is advertised as plus or minus 20%. This "Maximum Water Depth" image shows the water depth at each grid cell of the SLOSH domain. Thus, if you are inland at an elevation of ten feet above mean sea level, and the combined storm surge and tide (the "storm tide") is fifteen feet at your location, the water depth image will show five feet of inundation. This Maximum of the "Maximum Envelope of Waters" (MOM) image was generated for high tide and is a composite of the maximum storm surge found for dozens of individual runs of different Category 2 storms with different tracks. Thus, no single storm will be able to cause the level of flooding depicted in this SLOSH storm surge image. Consult wunderground's Storm Surge Inundation Maps page for more storm surge images of the U.S. coast.

Other major ports have taken measures to prevent being flooded. After the 1938 hurricane, storm surge barriers were built in New England to protect New Bedford, Providence and Stamford. After a disastrous storm in the North Sea in 1953, the Thames Barrier was built to protect London, and the Delta Plan was started in the Netherlands which includes three such barriers, one protecting Rotterdam, Europe's busiest port. Following Hurricane Katrina, a long-disputed barrier was constructed at the entrance to Lake Pontchartrain along with several others, which are now considered to make New Orleans hurricane-proof to Category 3 storms. Barriers are being completed to protect St. Petersburg, Russia, and Venice, Italy.

The heart of New York City could be protected in the same way. Moveable barriers, closed only when the city is threatened with major coastal flooding, could be placed at the upper end of the East River, across the Narrows and at the mouth of the Arthur Kill. Possibly, the latter two could be replaced with a single, longer barrier extending from Sandy Hook to the Rockaway peninsula. Modeling studies have demonstrated that the barriers would work. Four major engineering firms have presented conceptual designs and cost estimates for barriers at these locations. The estimated costs for these individual barriers range from $1 billion to $4.6 billion, with the total of the two or three needed less than $10 billion, comparable to other major infrastructure projects planned or underway.


Figure 3. Proposed hurricane storm surge barrier for New York City near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Image credit: Arcadis, Inc.

But unlike the original, the 2010 revision of plaNYC, the City's principal planning document, makes no reference to storm surge barriers. The City's latest plans are seen in the March 2011 Vision 2020: NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, which calls not for protecting the waterfront, but for climate "resilience," the ability to withstand and recover from the disaster. Unfortunately, this may be the best that can be done for those living in the coastal sections of the boroughs that face the Atlantic Ocean.

So the Great Evacuation of August 2011 is a test. In its postmortem on the storm on September 5, the New York Times concluded that "by almost any measure, the evacuation was a success," but it did not report on the principal measure. How many people were left behind? Unlike New Orleans after Katrina, we won't know by counting the bodies. Not this time, anyway.

Douglas Hill, EngScD, P.E., Stony Brook University

Other posts in this series
Storm surge barriers: the New England Experience
Hurricane Irene: New York City's close call

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Breaking:

The Unnamed Tropical Storm Tropical Cyclone Report is out

Awesome. Going to have to read it.
Remember the cleverbot stuff yesterday?
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Breaking:

The Unnamed Tropical Storm Tropical Cyclone Report is out
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
I know this is offtopic but:
You know what I disected today O_o
A sheep brain.
It was disgusting and squishy and...O_o
~WARNING~
DO NOT LOOK IT UP ON GOOGLE IMAGES!
TRUST
ME
ITS
DISGUSTING!
._.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Does this mean we would have to sign a prewar agreement that they will sell to us and we have to buy from them?

War, is war. Seldom are wars based on logic.


the people in power are smarter than you think, unlike afganistan, Iraq, and Iran (apart from Tehran) china has so much more infrastructure to worry about losing in a war. There is also a reason loan sharks never commit murder, dead people dont pay. China has nothing to gain, but everything to lose by going to war with us.
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here is the ASCAT of what the JTWC is noticing, around 6.7S 95.8E:
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
....
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Quoting JNCali:
Hey Rookie.. wars are most often based on greed. Some one wants someone elses land or resources or whatever. China is making all its money off of the Western consumer and so long as that is the status quo they have no motivation to shoot the missles (they stole from us) at us. The media loves to get everyone all upset so we stay on their channel and listen to their commercials.. and they make money.. it's all a game...IMHO


From what I know, war is more based on the "I am better than you" aspect of human nature. Greed is technically part of that, but in the case with most of the recent wars it's more installing a government that the superpower wants so that it can have a higher area of influence. Now, some wars in the past have also been fully because of greed (WW2 comes to mind), or because of technicalities (WW1).

Also how did China steal missiles from the US? As far as I know, it's old Soviet technology with prettier looking metal....
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Does this mean we would have to sign a prewar agreement that they will sell to us and we have to buy from them?

War, is war. Seldom are wars based on logic.
Hey Rookie.. wars are most often based on greed. Some one wants someone elses land or resources or whatever. China is making all its money off of the Western consumer and so long as that is the status quo they have no motivation to shoot the missles (they stole from us) at us. The media loves to get everyone all upset so we stay on their channel and listen to their commercials.. and they make money.. it's all a game...IMHO
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Woulda, coulda, shoulda.................this is what breeds complacency. Sorry, as a Floridian, I have been through too much of it.
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I do remember a post on a blog on another website saying that 2012 would not be the end of the world, but it might feel like it diplomatically/economically.

I didn't really think much of it, but maybe I should consider it more.

Otherwise, the world isn't ready for another cold war type conflict between the US and China..let alone a WW2 style conflict.

I'm just saying that the US and China are so dependent on each other that a war between them would kill the global economy. Then again, the US and USSR were still trading between each other for the first 30 years of the cold war. I guess maybe a cold war style conflict could work out without killing each others economy.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:



China will never go to war with us, we are the only reason they have an economy.


Does this mean we would have to sign a prewar agreement that they will sell to us and we have to buy from them?

War, is war. Seldom are wars based on logic.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4745
Joint Typhoon Warning Center says Medium chance of development

1. NORTH INDIAN OCEAN AREA(MALAY PENINSULA WEST TO COAST OF AFRICA):
A. TROPICAL CYCLONE SUMMARY: NONE.
B. TROPICAL DISTURBANCE SUMMARY: NONE.
2. SOUTH INDIAN OCEAN AREA(135E WEST TO COAST OF AFRICA)
A. TROPICAL CYCLONE SUMMARY: NONE.
B. TROPICAL DISTURBANCE SUMMARY:
(1) THE AREA PREVIOUSLY LOCATED NEAR 4.4S 99.1E, IS NOW LOCATED NEAR 6.7S 95.8E, APPROXIMATELY 655 NM OF JAKARTA, INDONESIA. ANIMATED MULTISPECTRAL AND INFRARED IMAGERY INDICATE AN IMPROVING LOW LEVEL CIRCULATION CENTER(LLCC) OF THE COAST OF SAMATRA. A RECENT 021443Z ASCAT PASS INDICATES THE WINDS AROUND THE LLCC ARE AROUND 15 TO 20 KNOTS WITH STRONGER WINDS LOCATED ON THE WESTERN SEMI-CIRCLE. UPPER LEVEL ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT VERTICAL WIND SHEAR REMAINS HIGH 20 TO 30 KNOTS. ANIMATED ENHANCED WATER VAOPER IMAGERY INDICATES CONVECTION DEVELOPING OVER THE LLCC, BUT THE VERTICAL WIND SHEAR IS INHIBITING DEEP CONVECTION FROM PERSISTING. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED SURFACE WINDS ARE ESTIMATED AT 15 TO 20 KNOTS. MINIMUM SEA LEVEL PRESSURE IS ESTIMATED TO BE NEAR 1006 MB. BASED ON THE IMPROVING LLCC, PERSISTENT DEVELOPMENT OF CONVECTION, BUT HIGH VERTICAL WIND SHEAR MINIMIZING DEEP CONVECTION FROM DEVELOPING, THE POTENTIAL FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS IS UPGRADED TO MEDIUM.
(2) NO OTHER SUSPECT AREAS.//
NNNN
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
49. MTWX
FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON, MS
133 PM CST FRI DEC 2 2011

...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSON HAS ISSUED A FLOOD
ADVISORY FOR THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER...

MISSISSIPPI RIVER NEAR ARKANSAS CITY AFFECTING CHICOT...DESHA...
BOLIVAR AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES

MISSISSIPPI RIVER NEAR GREENVILLE AFFECTING CHICOT...EAST
CARROLL...ISSAQUENA AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES

MISSISSIPPI RIVER AT VICKSBURG AFFECTING MADISON...TENSAS...
CLAIBORNE...JEFFERSON AND WARREN COUNTIES/PARISHES

MISSISSIPPI RIVER AT NATCHEZ AFFECTING CONCORDIA...ADAMS AND
WILKINSON COUNTIES/PARISHES


ARC017-LAC035-MSC055-151-040133-
/O.NEW.KJAN.FL.Y.0014.111202T1933Z-111215T1519Z/
/GEEM6.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
133 PM CST FRI DEC 2 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSON HAS ISSUED A
* FLOOD ADVISORY FOR
THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER NEAR GREENVILLE.
* UNTIL THURSDAY DECEMBER 15.
* AT 1:00 PM FRIDAY THE STAGE WAS 34.9 FEET.
* FLOOD STAGE IS 48.0 FEET.
* FORECAST...THE RIVER WILL RISE TO NEAR 42.5 FEET TUESDAY DECEMBER
13.

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48. MTWX
HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LITTLE ROCK AR
700 AM CST FRI DEC 02 2011

...HEAVY RAINFALL EXPECTED SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING...

SYNOPSIS...

A SLOW MOVING COLD FRONT WILL PUSH INTO ARKANSAS THIS WEEKEND. RAIN
WILL DEVELOP ALONG AND AHEAD OF THE FRONT...WITH THE HEAVIEST RAIN
EXPECTED OVER THE SOUTHEAST HALF OF THE STATE. TWO TO FOUR INCHES
WILL BE COMMON ACROSS MUCH OF THE HYDROLOGIC SERVICE AREA...WITH
FOUR TO SIX INCHES POSSIBLE SOUTH AND EAST OF THE I-30/HWY 67
CORRIDOR.

GIVEN THIS MUCH RAIN...FLASH FLOODING AND RIVER FLOODING WILL BE A
CONCERN. AREA RIVERS AND STREAMS IN THE OUACHITA...LOWER
ARKANSAS...AND LOWER WHITE RIVER BASIN WILL BE THE MOST THREATENED
DURING THIS EVENT...WITH MINOR TO MODERATE FLOODING POSSIBLE.

EMERGENCY MANAGERS...MEDIA...AND ALL PEOPLE LIVING IN OR VISITING
THE AREA SHOULD PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO UPDATED FORECASTS FOR THE
POSSIBILITY OF HEAVY RAINFALL AND FLOODING. REMEMBER...DRIVING INTO
FLOODED AREAS CAN BE FATAL.

FOR THE LATEST RIVER STAGE INFORMATION...FORECAST...AND WARNINGS
PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT:

HTTP://WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/LZK

RIVER STAGE AND FORECAST DATA CAN BE OBTAINED BY SELECTING THE
RIVERS AND LAKES AHPS LINK UNDER THE CURRENT CONDITIONS SECTION.

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS MAY BE DIRECTED TO...

TABITHA CLARKE
SERVICE HYDROLOGIST
NWS LITTLE ROCK AR
501-834-0308
TABITHA.CLARKE@NOAA.GOV

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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:



China will never go to war with us, we are the only reason they have an economy.
Plus we owe them a lot of money. We are worth more to them as business associates than adversaries..It is a little unsettling how the foreign relations between Russia and China have been progressing..Next one winding up...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
Quoting TampaSpin:
THIS IS GETTING VERY SERIOUS ....with talk like this coming from CHINA.....OMG!


Crude oil: US sanctions against Iran and China’s call for WW III
Iran's crude oil is once again targeted by the US as it spruces up to tighten its financial sanctions in a move to deter buyers of Iranian oil. China, has meanwhile threatened a third world war if the US does not stay away from Iran.



China will never go to war with us, we are the only reason they have an economy.
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The Tropical Cyclone report for TS Harvey was just released. Among the changes:

--Harvey's max winds were raised from 50 knots to 55 knots.

--Harvey was a tropical storm for longer than thought; in fact, after becoming a depression on 8/21, Harvey regained tropical storm status on the morning of 8/22.

--Harvey's ACE was bumped slightly, from 1.235 to 1.655. Not much, but that's enough to leapfrog the storm over both Don and Arlene to assume 14th place overall for the time being.
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Quoting SPLbeater:
nad here i was still posting on the old blog xD
I did the same thing.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
take a look at the new swirl on 90L's floater...
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
nad here i was still posting on the old blog xD
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Link

A place named El Cariso is showing a 195 mph wind gust!! Hmmmm....
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Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
Quoting StormTracker2K:
WOW! You can bet this will cause some serious flooding across the mid South.

And we are already soaked.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21416
N America Surface ZOOM in.

..click image

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
Thank you for this Blog post,
It seems like this is part 2 of the previous post. I am wondering if the main threat in the immediate future might be from the winter storms, as they were mentioned earlier as being the cause of flooding recently.
If added to the projected sea level rises and the progressive sinking of the land around New York, coupled with probable increased storm strengths both winter and summer seasons, it would seem imperative to construct some protective system to at least delay the possibilities of flooding.
A similar but smaller system was built in the London, UK, Thames estuary quite some time ago and has been used to prevent storm surges from the North Sea.
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Used to enjoy the SoCal Santa Ana winds.. Usually hit in Dec and blow down all the Christmas decorations.. and occasionally mess up the Rose Parade on New Years morning. Was always nice having a clear view of the San Gabriel mountains, of course at the expense of Catalina Island's air quality... now all I have to look forward to is FROZEN FOG and PELLETS!
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
Quoting Patrap:
There are now 384 Giorni Days until the 2012 Winter Solstice.

Enjoy your Friday.


HOO WEE!
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
North American Surface Analysis


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
fomenting fear is counter-productive, just look at the NHC...
edit: there is a subtlety between the import of awareness and spreading fear.
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Quoting Neapolitan:

For what it's worth, I posted about it three or four times since Wednesday evening, and the only response was along the lines of, "Yep, sounds bad", so I figured there wasn't much interest.


Neapolitan, can ya tell me what's going on out there? I'm really not good at looking it up, don't know where to start.
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Models keep showing another Invest....







Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9821
Quoting catastropheadjuster:


Yeah I'm trying to find some info about it. they said the winds where pretty bad. the winds are gonna be bad nevada,utah and some other states. Does anyone have any info about this?


does anyone know anything about this?
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There are now 384 Giorni Days until the 2012 Winter Solstice.

Enjoy your Friday.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128654
Quoting SafeInTexas:
Nothing about the crazy wind storm out west?

For what it's worth, I posted about it three or four times since Wednesday evening, and the only response was along the lines of, "Yep, sounds bad", so I figured there wasn't much interest.
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Quoting SafeInTexas:
Nothing about the crazy wind storm out west?


Yeah I'm trying to find some info about it. they said the winds where pretty bad. the winds are gonna be bad nevada,utah and some other states. Does anyone have any info about this?
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RSMC Reunion
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
15:00 PM RET December 2 2011
=================================

Two broad low pressure areas are currently present just to the south of the ITCZ.

The first one is located in our area of responsibility between 10S-20S and 65E-80E. It is stretched along a northwest/southeast axis and show a poorly organized thunderstorm activity. It appears that the low previously monitored to the southeast of Diego Garcia is now dissipated within the eastern part of this broad low pressure system.

Latest SCAT data, surface reports and satellite data show that a new LLCC is currently located in the
western part of the broad system near 12.2S 69.2E at 1000 UTC. MSLP is estimated at 1004 hPa (according buoy 14043) and winds are in the 10/20 kt range.
Due to marginal low level inflow and east northeasterly shear (although it should gradually abate along the week-end), there is a very low potential for cyclogenesis within the next three days.

However, all available NWP guidance keep this low although the forecast period as it should slowly
drift eastwards.

The second one is currently located in the Indonesian area of responsibility. It is located at 0700 UTC near 6.0S 98.2E. Some slow development is possible within the next three days as it should move generally southwestwards. Current outlook call for a possible come in our area of responsibility Sunday night or Monday morning.

For the next 48 hours, there is no potential for the development of a tropical depression. It becomes
poor Monday with the potential arrival in our area of responsibility of the low currently located in the Indonesian area of responsibility.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
THIS IS GETTING VERY SERIOUS ....with talk like this coming from CHINA.....OMG!


Crude oil: US sanctions against Iran and China%u2019s call for WW III
Iran's crude oil is once again targeted by the US as it spruces up to tighten its financial sanctions in a move to deter buyers of Iranian oil. China, has meanwhile threatened a third world war if the US does not stay away from Iran.
why does something like this get posted here by you...? not going to outright hurl accusations, but something seems off to me about your posts in the past relative to AGW bloggers and perceived liberalist agendas... but then we get these kind of posts.. way off topic.
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Quoting SafeInTexas:
Nothing about the crazy wind storm out west?


Same thought here. Vulnerability of NY, NY is nothing new, so what's the deal now?

Just checking news on the High winds. From the Los Angeles Times... (edit)
More than 200,000 Southland residents were without power early Friday and numerous school districts remained closed as crews worked to clean up broken windows, downed trees and scattered debris.

Sounds like Pasadena got it. Disaster declared. Picture on the news page link resembles twisted tree like you'd see with tornado damage.

Jim Cantore was in Pasadena, for heaven's sake. Probably the most wind action he's seen all year.
:)
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Quoting TampaSpin:


That economic disaster you refer to is MAN MADE....and it ain't coming from any storm or maybe it will.....WE ARE ALL SO SCREWED!!!


It'll be called "Fallout"
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting TampaSpin:
Overhyped...........Probably not. Sure hope we never find out as a hit on the Financial Bulls-eye of the world would not be a good one would suspect.
If it's gonna happen,all we can do is watch in awe!
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Quoting RitaEvac:


2012 is gonna be a hellava ride, buckle up. Economic disaster is on the way, storms are gonna devastate, earthquakes, floods, people WILL start thinking the end of the world is coming....and it might just be...


That economic disaster you refer to is MAN MADE....and it ain't coming from any storm or maybe it will.....WE ARE ALL SO SCREWED!!!
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Overhyped...........Probably not. Sure hope we never find out as a hit on the Financial Bulls-eye of the world would not be a good one would suspect.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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