Monday, September 24, 2007

Is Roosevelt Island Prepared for a Hurricane?

Following up on prior posts regarding the potential for Hurricanes striking New York City and Roosevelt Island, here is an article from today's Gothamist which lays out the possible storm scenarios. According to the Gothamist:

Many experts say yes. "Roughly every 70 years the New York region gets a monster hurricane," Bill Evans, WABC-TV senior meteorologist and co-author of the new novel Category 7 wrote in an opinion piece in Newsday. The National Hurricane Center's statistics corroborate Evans’ prediction. There seems to be a 20-year pattern in the frequency and intensity of Atlantic coast storms and hurricanes. Based on this pattern, the city can expect one or more category 3 Atlantic coast storms in the next several years. Such a storm, Evans writes, "could send a 22-foot surge of water into Manhattan streets. Subways would be out for months …. Low-lying neighborhoods south of Sunrise Highway would be unrecognizable."
But hurricanes aren't the only potential threats out there. A Nor’easter, named because it generally travels northeast up the Atlantic seaboard, is not as organized or as windy as the hurricane but because it hangs around longer, can be just as destructive. A Nor’easter is formed when the cold dry arctic air of the jet stream blows south and collides with the warm moist air of the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting quarrel gives birth to an icy storm. Nor’easter winds never exceed 35 miles, but because it has no eye and is irregularly shaped, a Nor’easter can cover a greater distance and therefore inflict as much damage as a hurricane.The City’s Plan.
Regarding Roosevelt Island:
Zone B areas are less vulnerable low-lying lands where there will be flooding if a severe hurricane – category 3 or higher -- strikes the city. Zone B areas include Roosevelt Island, City Island and much of southern Queens, including John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Although New York is surrounded by water – and located on three different islands – unlike New Orleans, most of the city does not lie below sea level. "We can keep New Yorkers safe as long as we can get those affected to shelter," Troisi says. Currently, the city could provide shelter for more than 600,000 people.

In general, the city has tried to encourage New Yorkers to prepare themselves for a hurricane or other disaster (see box). "The key to any plan begins with education. First, find out if you live in an evacuation zone, then find out where your local evacuation center is," Troisi said.
More on how to prepare and what to do in the event such a storm hits Roosevelt Island in future post.
The You Tube video is from the Daily Green. According to the interview, the consequences of a hurricane hitting New York City are quite scary.


RI 360 said...

What the Bill Evans video tells me is that unless Roosevelt Island residents start evacuating via subway immediately based on OEM warnings that the subways will be useless and probably a deathtrap for anyone that waits too long.

While many of the original WIRE buildings may think they are hurricane proof it is unlikely they are and if the City is knocked out as bad as predicted there is no real chance of weathering the storm's after effects on the island as we may be cut off completely if the RI bridge were to be damaged. Pretty wild and scary. Good post.