Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New York City Updates Hurricane Evacuation Zones - Roosevelt island Divided In Two Separate Zones For Octagon Building/Coler Hospital And Rest Of Island

As reported following Hurricane Sandy last October:

... perhaps all of Roosevelt Island should not be in the Category B evacuation zone but that portions of Roosevelt island, including the area around the Octagon and Coler Hospital should be Category A....
The new NYC Hurricane Evacuation maps place Roosevelt Island in separate zones.
All of Roosevelt Island had previously been in the same evacuation zone but the updated NYC hurricane evacuation plan has Roosevelt Island in two separate zones. Coler Hospital and the Octagon Building are in Zone 2 and the rest of Roosevelt Island is in Zone 3.


Click here for the NYC Hurricane Evacuation Map.

According to these excerpts of Press Release from Mayor Bloomberg's office:
Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway and Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno today announced final updates to the City's hurricane evacuation zones. The new Zones, 1 through 6, which will replace Zones A, B and C, now include an additional 600,000 New Yorkers not included within the boundaries of the former zones. The new zone system - first announced in the City's Hurricane Sandy After-Action report last month - was developed using the latest Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricane storm surge inundation maps generated by the National Weather Service and processed by United States Army Corps of Engineers. The zones are based on coastal flood risk resulting from storm surge - the "dome" of ocean water propelled by the winds and low barometric pressure of a hurricane; the geography of the city's low-lying neighborhoods; and the accessibility of these neighborhoods by bridge and roads....

... The new Zones 1 through 6 include an additional 600,000 New Yorkers not included within the boundaries of the former zones. The increased number of zones will provide the City with more flexibility in targeting areas to evacuate in advance of a predicted storm. The chart below provides the cumulative estimated population of each new zone. The new hurricane evacuation zones are not directly correlated to the previous A, B, and C zones, and a numbering system was selected for the 2013 evacuation zones instead of the previously used lettering system to avoid confusion.

2013 Hurricane Evacuation Zone Population

Estimated population (2010 Census)

Zone 1 370,000

Zone 1+2 620,000

Zone 1+2+3 1,020,000

Zone 1+2+3+4 1,470,000

Zone 1+2+3+4+5 2,230,000

Zone 1+2+3+4+5+6 2,990,000...

... In the City's history, a mandatory evacuation has been issued only twice, during Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

New evacuation zones now include:
  • The residences of 37 percent of New Yorkers;
  • An additional 600,000 New Yorkers;
  • An additional 26 New York City Housing Authority developments, now totaling 175;
  • Four additional hospitals, bringing the total from 21 to 25; and
  • Nine additional nursing homes, bringing the total from 60 to 69.

More on Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy damage from previous post.

8 comments:

rilander said...

I saw that new map earlier and it looks like that the southern tip (4 Freedoms/Southpoint Park and part of the proposed Cornell Tech campus) are also in Zone 2.

CheshireKitty said...

4 Freedoms did not experience much or any flood damage during Sandy - since it is built on a base high enough to withstand flooding. Imagine if the floodwaters had inundated that pristine monument though - probably would have caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to the meticulously planned site. I'm surprised it is now in Zone 2 since it is really not that susceptible to flooding. Also, Cornell has indicated it too intends to build the campus on an elevated base that will withstand flooding. I guess Southpoint may get flooded - since it wasn't built on a high base although it does contain some hills.


The new map is going to raise everyone's insurance premiums and the cost of living in general since the higher insurance cost will be passed on to the consumer/renter/so forth one way or another.


Also, how far into Queens do we need to go to go to an area not in any of the zones - that is, not susceptible to flooding. Are we going to be bused to these higher-ground areas or do they expect us to find out way there by our own devices? Do they have a general idea where the shelters will be if we do need to move to higher ground? Are we talking about having to go as far inland as Corona? Or Jackson Heights? Or Flushing? Or do they first put us in areas that are not yet flooded but are in one of the flood-prone zones and then wait and see how bad the flooding gets before everyone is squeezed into the shelters in the higher-ground areas? Some of us may know or have relatives in the higher-ground areas but this may not be true of everyone. There may be thousands - maybe hundreds of thousands - who do not know anyone in an area not under mandatory evacuation orders. It is preposterous to expect that the City will have the shelter capacity in non evacuation areas to accommodate these kinds of numbers.

KTG said...

Not clear on your comment. n an emergency its best if individuals are responsible for their own safety based on alerts.
The city transportation resources and shelters are meant more as a last resort for evacuated areas.
People need to prepare themselves first so city can focus resources more effectively, whole point of plan is to not have emergency staff rescuing people in places where flooding was expected.

CheshireKitty said...

I'm wondering if the City will provide transportation to the shelters or people will be expected to find their own way to shelters.


Also, I do not feel the number of shelters is close to being adequate for the possible number of people that may need to be sheltered. Imagine if a catastrophe such as Katrina were to occur in NYC. Then, you cannot just return to your building when the flooding recedes. Didn't they have to relocate thousands of residents from New Orleans to other parts of the country, such as Texas? NYC is even more densely populated than New Orleans. If they are talking about over 2 million people that might be asked to move to higher ground in case of a bad storm, and if even a quarter of them don't know or have relatives outside the evacuation zone, then the number of shelters as currently listed are inadequate.


Plus - many don't even drive or have cars. How does the City expect the evacuees to get to the shelters? Especially if mass transit is shut down?
That's why a transportation plan must be worked out - as well as an expansion of the shelter system.


We had a bad storm in 11 - Irene. Then, the following year, Sandy was even worse. Imagine if we are hit with a monster storm this year. Having two bad storms in a row is ominous.


The shelter system is inadequate in the event zones 1-6 need to be evacuated - and there seems to be no organized transportation system in place whereby residents can be bused to shelters free of charge. The way the system is currently set up almost assumes large numbers of people will not evacuate. What that means is we will "have emergency staff rescuing people in places where flooding was expected" - because of the inadequacy of the emergency planning.

Frank Farance said...

CK, our closest shelters are likely to be Newcomers HS (LIC) or Hunter College (both one stop on F train). But this means people need to evacuate when the Mayor tells them, not in the middle of the storm.

If a shelter gets overcrowded, then buses take you to other shelters to distribute the arrivals ... this was done in Sandy for Rockaways/etc..

After the event, some shelters will consolidate (because people have gone home), and the remaining people will move (via City buses/etc.) to other shelters. The Hunter College shelter was open weeks after Sandy hit.

Frank Farance said...

NOAA predicts active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season: Era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes continues

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20130523_hurricaneoutlook_atlantic.html

"In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. [...]

"Three climate factors that strongly control Atlantic hurricane activity are expected to come together to produce an active or extremely active 2013 hurricane season. These are:

- A continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995;

- Warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea; and

- El NiƱo is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation

[...] NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlook is not a hurricane landfall forecast; it does not predict how many storms will hit land or where a storm will strike. ..."

CheshireKitty said...

Oh, this is great. Just great. Let's hope none of these storms hit NY. If one does, Bloomie's exit could coincide with not just with the socio-economic shambles but physical one as well.

CheshireKitty said...

OK - that makes sense. Did the City ever fix the factors that led to the gas shortage post-Sandy or was that because shipping was disrupted in NJ?