Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More Things to Worry About: It's "Hurricane Preparedness Week"

Just when Gowanus Lounge was bemoaning the lack of alarm about the chance that a hurricane will render the Gowanus Canal an extension of New York Harbor, come the latest predictions of 2006 hurricane activity and word that this is Hurricane Preparedness Week. "Did you know that one in four New Yorkers lives in a hurricane evacuation zone?" notes the NYC Office of Emergency Management. "Hurricanes can affect New York City....Due to regional geography, hurricanes can cause even more damage in New York City than hurricanes of similar strength in the southern U.S. Residents should understand the coastal storm hazards they face and know how to respond. Hurricane hazards include storm surge, high winds and tornadoes."

One in four of us in hurricane evacuation zones, huh?

OEM suggests finding out if you live in an evacuation zone, having a disaster plan, keeping an emergency supply kit stocked and having a "Go Bag" with essentials if you need to run. (To review, in the graphic above, areas in orange flood in any hurricane, areas in yellow in a Category Two and areas in green in a Category Three or Four.)

Meanwhile, Gothamist summarized survey findings yesterday that say few New Yorkers are prepared. And, AP ran a story that painted a nasty little picture of the sort of thing that might happen in New York City. A couple of choice excerpts:
In 1893, a hurricane came ashore in Jamaica Bay, near where JFK airport sits today. A cluster of saloons, casinos and resort hotels on a sandy spit of land called Hog Island was completely washed away. Even the island disappeared. A few miles west of the hurricane's eye, almost every building on Coney Island was destroyed. There was extensive flooding in Brooklyn and wind damage to many of the city's innovative new skyscrapers, including the just-finished Metropolitan Life building. Meteorologists estimate that the 1893 storm was only a category 2 hurricane.

"A 2 in New York City is bad news," said Nicholas Coch, a professor at the Queens College branch of the City University of New York. "A 3 is a disaster and a 4 is a catastrophe."

Coch earned the nickname "Dr. Doom" more than a decade ago for his insistent warnings about New York City's vulnerability to hurricanes. He envisions hurricane-force winds stripping glass, antennas, air conditioning units and water tanks off tall buildings and sending them crashing into the streets. People trying to escape the bombardment by retreating into the subway would soon find the tunnels flooded.
On the bright side, the MTA is drafting a new evacuation plan that will let everyone take their pets on buses and subways in case we have to run for our lives.


Anonymous Sonja Shield said...

Very comprehensive, Bob!

For a really scary picture, check this out.

2:12 PM  

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