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Floods & NYC Preparation on Future Floods

Natural disasters have become more frequent over the past five years for many reasons, one of which is global warming has raised sea levels about 8 inches since 1880 and the rate of rise is accelerating according to scientists. Also, according to a Climate Central Analysis, finds that the number of floods once considered to happen “once a century” are expected to double by 2030. In the U.S. that will result in an enormous amount of damages. Let’s keep in mind that across the country an estimated of 5 million people live in 3million homes at less than 4 feet above high tides and according to scientists they expect sea levels to raise at least 2 to 7 feet more during this century. One way to prevent this disaster from accelerating depends upon how much more heat trapping pollution humanity puts into the atmosphere. Climate change is being caused by us humans contributing to global sea level rise and consequently aggravating costal floods. According to new research some parts of the Antarctic ice sheet may begin to collapse much sooner than scientists had previously anticipated if ongoing emissions of heat trapping gases like carbon dioxide and methane remain high as it has been lately.

The impact of floods would be devastating because it damages property and endangers the lives of humans and other species. Rapid water runoff causes soil erosion and concomitant sediment deposition on further downstream coast. Also spawning grounds fishes and other wildlife habitats can become polluted or destroyed. Not to mention structural damages can occur in bridge abutments, sewer lines, and other structures within floodways. Financial losses due to floods are typically millions of dollars each year. Some states that often have floods have some control flood methods that have been practiced –  for example planting vegetation to retain extra water, terracing hillsides to slow downhill and the construction of floodway channels which are very common in Colorado. Some other methods are construction of levees, dikes and reservoirs to retain extra water during times of flooding. As floods are becoming more and more common a lot of engineering has been inputted over the years to make drain systems more effective in case a flood was to occur in New York City. The expansion of drainage channels and improvement of drainage structures with detention basins near the sites. After New York City got hit by  superstorm Sandy in 2012  a lot of preventative actions and plans have been established over the years. Some of the preventions that have been done include regular updates on climate projections,  more emergency shelters (before we had 10,000 now we are building up to 120,000 more shelters). Also, NYC is funding technology projects that will enable small businesses to bounce back after a storm or flood has occurred within the region. Regarding infrastructure,  the city is making $3 billion worth of repairs in public housing to make it more storm and flood resistant. The metropolitan transportation agencies are also putting $10.5 billion into repairs and upgrades on their systems. These methods preventions will help on natural disasters events. Flooding can bring benefits. Such as making soil more fertile ad providing nutrients in which it is deficient. Finally, the viability for hydrologically based renewable source of energy is higher in flooding prone regions.


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  1. A very informative piece in regards to floods in terms of NYC and history.

    Having lived in NYC for well over two decades, I have seen climate at its most extremes with blizzards and heat waves and now floods. It has been noted that the sea level in terms of New York City has risen over the past years and it will continue to do so. When storms such as how you mention “Hurricane Sandy” leads us to take more preventative actions. Its essentially very interesting to see how NYC is taking what it learned from the superstorm in terms of building infrastructure that withstand the damages of such storm and floods. I do agree in the part that us humans play a role in terms of manifesting the outgoings in rising sea levels that aggravate these conditions. Its man made so , its a contribution that we all have to look in depth.
    To prevent more of these floods we can have better flood warning systems, modify homes and other buildings to withstand the effects of floods to above flood levels, start woking on climate change and perhaps the most interesting one is to boost up agriculture by increasing vegetation. These are just a few ways to start creating a conversation on such areas.

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