As much as a quarter of New York City’s land area is expected to be in the floodplain by midcentury, doubling the number of residents who could be severely affected by future storms, according to a report to be released Tuesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration that recommends billions of dollars in spending.
“As bad as Sandy was, future storms could be even worse,” Mr. Bloomberg plans to say during a major policy speech Tuesday afternoon, according to an excerpt of his remarks released by City Hall on Monday.
Last December, in the wake of superstorm Sandy, the mayor charged a panel of top officials the task of producing a long-term plan to address the risks that climate change poses on the city’s infrastructure, buildings and neighborhoods. On Tuesday, Mr. Bloomberg is slated to release that report and outline a series of recommendations to better prepare the five boroughs for the future.
While City Hall aides said they consider the report to be a comprehensive, highly technical analysis of the city’s vulnerabilities, it was unclear on Monday how much the administration can do to address these issues before the mayor steps down on Dec. 31. On the campaign trail, the candidates hoping to succeed Mr. Bloomberg have been discussing the city’s response to Sandy and their own plans if elected.
Because of rising temperatures and sea levels, even a storm that isn’t as large as Sandy could potentially be more destructive, Mr. Bloomberg plans to say in his speech.
“We expect that by midcentury, up to one-quarter of all New York City’s land area, where 800,000 residents live today, will be in the floodplain,” he plans to say. “If we do nothing, almost a 10th of our waterfront—more than 40 miles or so—could see flooding on a regular basis, just during normal high tides.”
The Oct. 29 storm resulted in widespread flooding and power outages, and the shuttering of the city’s subway system.
The total death toll related to the storm was 117, with more than 40 in New York City. About half of the storm’s drowning deaths occurred in flooded homes in the city’s mandatory evacuation zone.
Anric Blatt, Global Fund Exchange Group