Has it been only 7 years since Katrina? We thought, “Who could be so stupid to put off evacuation while a mountain of water descended on their town?” I had a conservative friend send me little “news items” about how this demonstrates the inferior character of the New Orleans people (read “dark colored people”) in contrast to the people of North Dakota, who take floods like that in stride.
This week it was the turn of New York. Wall Street, where the business decisions of this country and large parts of the world are made. Wall Street, only a few feet above sea level at a time when the sea level is rising year by year and is expected to rise steadily for the foreseeable future.
New York City was perfectly positioned to absorb the worst of Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge — a record 13 feet.
The effects of the superstorm that flooded parts of the city are lingering into Tuesday and likely will for much longer, with a large swath of the city out of power, subway and vehicle tunnels flooded, and the financial district closed for a second day.
A fire destroyed at least 50 houses overnight in Queens’ flooded Rockaway peninsula and forced the rescue of about 25 people from an upstairs apartment. Officials weren’t immediately able to pin down the cause of the blaze.
Crucial generators failed, and when the subway system flooded predictably much valuable equipment was damaged or rendered useless. People who refused to evacuate their low-lying homes begged Tuesday for rescue from their attics and roof tops, sometimes to no avail.
Here’s a note to New Orleans. It’s going to happen again. You can’t build levees high enough to protect the city forever. Your land is sinking, and the ocean level is rising. New York, you’re right at sea level, and vast parts of your infra-structure are below water level now. You need to act as though the next storm surge is going to be higher and it’s coming next year.
I checked recently. My house is about 900 feet above sea level. I don’t need a levee. For the time being.