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Brainstorming Ways To Protect NYC From Real Storms

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the i-have-a-weather-control-device-for-sale dept.

Earth 203

SternisheFan writes with this excerpt from NBC News: "The killer storm that hit the East Coast last month and left the nation's largest city with a crippled transit system, widespread power outages and severe flooding has resurfaced the debate about how best to protect a city like New York against rising storm surges. In a 2011 report called 'Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan,' NYC's Department of City Planning listed restoring degraded natural waterfront areas, protecting wetlands and building seawalls as some of the strategies to increase the city's resilience to climate change and sea level rise. 'Hurricane Sandy is a wake-up call to all of us in this city and on Long Island,' Malcolm Bowman, professor of physical oceanography at State University of New York at Stony Brook, told NBC News' Richard Engel. 'That means designing and building storm-surge barriers like many cities in Europe already have.' Some of the projects showcased at Rising Currents include: Ways to make the surfaces of the city more absorptive (through porous sidewalks) and more able to deal with water, whether coming from the sea or sky; Parks and freshwater and saltwater wetlands in Lower Manhattan; Artificial islands or reefs (including ones made of recycled glass) to make the shoreline more absorptive and break the waves."

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The Best Way. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944503)

Climate Dome.

Re:The Best Way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945137)

People will get out. They always do.

Re:The Best Way. (2)

h00manist (800926) | about 2 years ago | (#41945139)

Unleash NYC real estate speculators to build Dubai-like artificial reefs, and get foreigners looking for "safe havens" for their money to buy it all up. Given the financial madness of real estate in nyc and new beachfront property, it will pay for itself a thousand times over.

Re:The Best Way. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945187)

I think it's fairly deep, hence the whole port thing. It still might be possible to build artificial barrier islands though.

Just buy lots of Shamwow cloths. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944505)

They can absorb like a barrel of water.

Brilliant Folly (0)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#41944529)

Truth be told, most of those ideas aren't worth the canvas they were painted on.

Re:Brilliant Folly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944577)

Your insight and ideas are of invaluable help. I look forward to more of your contributions in solving these problems.

Re:Brilliant Folly (3, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41944663)

You should also subscribe to his newsletter.

Re:Brilliant Folly (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41944999)

Actually porous surfaces are a great idea. They are used on highways where you want rain water to run off and you don't want it to wash all the way to the side of the road. I you build your city out of that stuff and provide huge monsoon style drains then the water won't hang around as much.

Re:Brilliant Folly (2)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#41945315)

Wouldn't that increase the presence of mold and fungus? There are some types of granite that can naturally absorb water and release it slowly. They also have the problem of becoming a reservoir for fungal spores because it it the perfect habitat. If you've ever seen the underside of a brick bridge, you will alway see that stuff.

Re:Brilliant Folly (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41945387)

I suppose that could be a problem in places which are inherently very wet. Over here in Australia it is the once a year rain that you have to worry about and your drains can easily be dry for two weeks at a stretch.

my idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944541)

encourage 90% of the population to move far far away. the city is asking for it. when "the big one" hits, it will make all previous disasters look like appetizers.

Re:my idea (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about 2 years ago | (#41944779)

I was actually shocked to see a center of Occidental civilisation, New York, seemingly unprepared for an incident that is likely within a 70yrs time frame. It is simply outrageous to see US major websites go down. But you know, within the next 15 years we will most likely get a huge earth quake in Istanbul. Don't expect them to be prepared. The United States need more Kantian rationality and preparation.

Re:my idea (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41945119)

So much of the infrastructure in NYC (and the rest of the East Coast) is so ancient that it is a wonder it functions from day to day in perfect weather, let alone a storm.

Where newer cities have buried virtually all electrical distribution, huge segments of it are hanging from polls, bridges, buildings, etc.
The push to get this stuff buried [] in waterproof pipe and tunnels has largely gone un-heeded, due to the sheer volume of the work to be done.

The local distribution systems are old, exposed, and vulnerable. Power lines run through trees, right-of-ways are unmaintained, and faults are fixed as fast as possible with little thought toward prevention.

Residential systems are deemed not critical. But when they short out, they trip other systems off line. When storms hit wide areas it is precisely these so called "non critical" residential feeders that cause the most problems. Large high-voltage lines are designed to handle severe weather, and their breaks or failures are easy to spot, quick to fix. But thousands of downed power lines in neighborhoods take excessive manpower, and a long time to fix.

I suspect that a cost-benefit analysis would not support a wholesale project to bury everything everywhere. After all, the humongous cost numbers of the lack of power are merely bean-counters adding up payroll numbers, speculating about lost business, and guessing.

Still, if every neighborhood that needed a major repair had its power system immediately trenched and buried the most vulnerable segments would be taken care of. Its a lot harder to trench in power in a populated place than it is when building a new subdivision, but its far from impossible. The convoys of mutual-aid power company vehicles rushing into the teeth of Sandy that I passes while I was driving west out of the path are testimony to the fact that the power companies do have a plan. But its the wrong plan. Its still focused on tacking the patchwork quilt back together AFTER the storm. Those trucks should each be pulling a Ditch Witch in fine weather, BEFORE of the storm.

Re:my idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945201)

I suspect that a cost-benefit analysis would not support a wholesale project to bury everything everywhere.

In a rural area, with single phase 14.4kV lines, we were quoted at one million dollars per mile.

Re:my idea (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41945291)

That sounds about right.

It costs more to get the permits, easements, and document it, than it costs to actually lay the cables.
With armored cable (eliminating the need for conduit) you can trench a mile in a few days with a crew of 6. I've seen it done. I know what those guys get paid and the cost of the spools. The legal bill and permitting process took way more time. Years in all.

Re:my idea (0)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#41945339)

Burying cables under the sidewalks and roads seems just as daft. No sooner that they have been buried and the road surface relaid, that the compactor machines damage some other pipe or cable which then leads to the road being dug up again, and the cycle continues. Then one construction team or another doesn't seal the road surface properly and the water starts to wash away the bedsand under the tarmac, and the road starts to distort.

Re:my idea (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41945443)

Every new construction area in the country must be daft then, because that's how it's done these days. You should get out more often.

Road repair seldom penetrates more than 3 feet. Lines sre overlaid wit plastic warning webs that stops excavation workers in their tracks. Call before you dig is the norm everywhere in North America. There are already water, gas, telephone, and cable trenches everywhere.

It's the norm. Its not any different than business as usual for the construction crews.

Re:my idea (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about 2 years ago | (#41945451)

Why isn't that a problem in other Western nations?

Re:my idea (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about 2 years ago | (#41945439)

Actually I am not aware of parts of Europe where you have these standards. It's not impossible, it is more a matter of investment and regulation of power companies. Remember, there wasn't much electricity 100 years ago.

Re:my idea (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#41945117)

Move where? Name one place that isn't prone to natural disasters or other major problems with holding tens of millions of people in one place. California: earthquakes. Gulf coast: cat-5 hurricanes. Midwest: tornadoes. Southwest desert: too little freshwater and too much heat. North Dakota: -40 in the winter.

Re:my idea (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about 2 years ago | (#41945151)

To be fair, tornadoes are a little less widespread than hurricanes or earthquakes. Think 100-500 yards wide vs square miles of damage.

Move (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944575)

If you know there is impending danger, get out of the way.

Re:Move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944665)

They can't. There's a reason they're known as bibendums.

Re:Move (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41945625)

That's just what we need. NYC on giant wheels, on a road where every off ramp has a huge sign saying:

You can stop here, but you can't stay.

If only it were that easy. (2)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#41945785)

If you know there is impending danger, get out of the way.

The population of Staten Island, 470,000. The population of Manhattan Island,1.6 million. The population of Long Island, 7,6 million.

The population of metropolitan New York City, 22 million.

The population of New Orleans before Katrina was pretty much the same as Staten Island today --- just under 500,000.

How do you evacuate 10 to 20 million people? Where do you house them? How do you feed them?

1664 (4, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | about 2 years ago | (#41944581)

This is where it went wrong - if it was still Dutch it would have been properly protected against flooding, and all those electricity lines would have been underground by now. It's absolutely unbelievable that a country that is so technologically advanced still has all those cables hanging in the air. And then those cardboard houses!

Re:1664 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944627)

Most of the power lines are underground, particularly in Manhattan, where power was out for much of the island for many days.

Re:1664 (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945121)

Most power lines in the Netherlands aren't underground at all.

The country of the netherlands is below sea level. Without constant and directed interference of a huge structure the Netherlands, and large parts of Belgium would flood in a matter of months. The reason this doesn't happen is that close to the entire coastline is dammed, both in Belgium and Holland, in several layers. The most important structure that helps doing this is called the delta works [] . Those dams open during ebb and close during flood, which causes the inland groundwater level to drop to about 10 cm over the lowest point the seawater reaches. The Delta works are extremely impressive, and they're just the first of 3 lines of defense against the water. This is sort of weird as the second and especially the third lines are dams which have no water on either side of the actual dam.

There are negative aspects to this. The Dutch "Ministry of water" (it's called Rijkswaterstaat, which translates to Countrywatergovernment) has a huge amount of power. They can stop any and cancel construction project, a source of great frustration in the Netherlands, they can evict large amounts of people and flood their houses without any compensation (which they sometimes do, so if you're wondering "why is this coastal house so very cheap" in Holland or Belgium, it might be that it floods 2-3 times yearly, even inland there are "emergency flood zones" with houses in them*), everybody building almost anywhere in the Netherlands needs their approval, they can arrest people and hold them I believe for a month before charging them with anything (and interfering with the ministry of water is a crime that carries stiff penalties). This is done because the alternative is much worse than in New York [] it takes months to years for the floods to recede, so if someone screws up, they're in for a long ride.

* there is even a law that if your house is surrounded by more than 20cms of water, you have to let it flood. Because the alternative is that it starts floating and collapses with everyone in it, or damages someone else's property.

One of the emergency flood zones in the harbour of Antwerp is kinda fun. There is this huge parking shortage, and they couldn't use that flood zone for anything anyway, so they built a road into it. And many days, a lot of cars get parked in there. Some days, usually at around 15pm, a warning goes out "we're going to flood it" and by 15h30 they will flood this parking, cars out or not (because the alternative is flooding the city). You never fail to see a few cars floating around at 17h during those days. It only happens 3-4 times yearly of course, but it's very weird that they deliberately did that. To add to the problem, that parking is written in as an exception for pretty much every car insurance.

Re:1664 (1)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#41945361)

Why didn't they just build the car park on stilts? Or put some deep trench reservoirs in place to contain all the water?

Re:1664 (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41944671)

Yup... you see the power company doesnt want to harm its profits by burying lines. Even if they started this back in the 90s, they would be done by now if they just portioned out the projects.
They dont care because it means Federal money to get it back up and working.

Re:1664 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944727)

Putting a power line underground is easy. Putting a substation underground is considerably more tricky. But waterproofing it to a reasonable level shouldn't be that hard.

Re:1664 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944751)

How could they know, haha.

Re:1664 (1)

Elbereth (58257) | about 2 years ago | (#41944819)

It's easy to say that, but it's expensive as hell to modernize even just NYC, much less the entire state. Nobody is ever going to finance something like that, when the current infrastructure works tolerably well (most of the time). It used to really bug me (losing power whenever there's a moderately powerful storm really sucks), but I guess I've gotten used to it, as well. Nowadays, I too laugh at the naive fools who think they're going to change anything in New York. Politics in NY are more complicated than they may seem to outsiders -- the same as anywhere else, really. We're just better at hiding our dysfunctional government from outsiders than some other states.

Re:1664 (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 2 years ago | (#41944951)

You would have about $100bn to spend each year, if only the US could decide that it was enough for their "defense" to constitute 45% instead of 54% of the worlds military spending. ($600bn instead of $700bn ... pre-GWB budget was under $400bn)

Re:1664 (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#41945127)

Except that that's Federal money, and can't be spent on city infrastructure like that. City infrastructure is a local/municipal and/or state problem only. It doesn't matter if the city is of critical importance to the nation as a whole, it's not going to happen with the way the government is now.

Re:1664 (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 2 years ago | (#41945205)

Think outside the box, damn it.

Re:1664 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945693)

That's not true at all. The government hands out grants to local and state governments all the time. My own little town got a federal grant to improve some roads in town. Some sort of urban improvement in low income areas grant type of deal. Not a huge amount of money but enough for the city to be interested and apply for it.

Re:1664 (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#41945855)

Right, but those grants are pretty small compared to what it'd cost to really boost NYC's coastal defenses; I imagine the red state politicians would be screaming bloody murder if that much money went to that one city. I just don't think it's politically feasible in this country; look at how badly we handled New Orleans after Katrina. I don't think it's possible for us to focus our efforts that way; we're simply too dysfunctional as a nation.

Re:1664 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945003)

I think there is more of a steep drop off in elevation off the east coast of america.

Re:1664 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945083)

Actually the areas of NYC where the power-lines were buried were out of power for a full week. Those areas with above ground lines were out for a day.

Re:1664 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945161)

It depends on where you live, underground cables aren't always the best option. Digging underground is a painstaking journey when something happens. But at a time when a country meets bankruptcy, do you really thing investing hundreds of billions for creating a new infrastructure for cable lines is a good idea?

Re:1664 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945749)

Repair and replacement of underground power lines is far more labour intensive and expensive than stringing new wires between telegraph poles, or even replacing fallen telegraph poles.

Also, buried wires make upgrading service a nightmare.

As for stick framing, it's come a long way since the 1800s and houses don't just blow down anymore.

Only idea sure to work (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41944583)

The only idea that's sure to work is to move the city to a safer location. Or at least the parts of it most suseptible to flooding. That's what they had to do in New Orleans. Or, perhaps it's because we're talking about rich white guys now instead of poor black people that we should expend many billions fortifying and rebuilding those neighborhoods? Oh, and yes, this comment will probably be flamed into oblivion and modded every which way, but it does have the benefit of being the truth.

Re:Only idea sure to work (2)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41944683)

So where do you move a port besides next to the ocean?

Serious question.


Re:Only idea sure to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945243)

Chicago. Make all shipping come through the locks.

Re:Only idea sure to work (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41945469)

So where do you move a port besides next to the ocean?

You don't move the port. You move the city. The port can stay where it is; Just run rail and road lines out to it. It's a lot easier to restore power and services to an area that's easily evacuated, has no residential housing, etc., and limited infrastructure.

Re:Only idea sure to work (2)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41945725)

You have to be trolling. You have to.

So you're going to move the city inland by what, 60 miles? Move everyone off Manhattan and Long Island? All 8+Million of them? What draconian government ministry are you going to appoint (because you've made yourself emperor) to forcibly move people off the land they're on? You have to pay them to resettle too, enough to replace the homes and land they're in.

Your "simple" solution is infeasible and would be hated by everyone.

People like to live next to work. They hate commuting. They'll build houses and offices near the port and then you're right back to where you started.


Re:Only idea sure to work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944829)

What are you talking about? New Orleans built an enormous seawall and insanely large pumping stations. They didn't move anywhere.

Re:Only idea sure to work (2)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 2 years ago | (#41944881)

Your class envy rhetoric is idiotic. Manhattan has both rich and poor neighborhoods; flooding hurts both. Damaging business districts (which are interspersed throughout the island) hurts everyone.

Like New Orleans, New York City has a location which is important as an inherent part of its geography. Unlike New Orleans, it is not feasible to move it. It is surrounded by water (duh, that's what island means) and those areas on the other side of the water are already densely populated. There's nowhere to go. If the island and surrounding lowlying areas were vacated by force and government edict, the economy of the region and then the whole nation would be damaged.

Storm surge barriers might help, but the New York harbors are busy, so the barriers can't be a barrier to navigation. The Hudson and East Rivers aren't exactly shallow, so construction won't be cheap. Sea walls may be feasible in some regions, after all both LaGuardia and Idlewild (JFK) are build on land not far above sea level. Improved drainage is paramount; the possibilities for storing water where, in Stan Freberg's words "whole island concrete", are remote. Improved protection of tunnel and subway openings would help.

Re:Only idea sure to work (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41945281)

Your class envy rhetoric is idiotic. Manhattan has both rich and poor neighborhoods; flooding hurts both. Damaging business districts (which are interspersed throughout the island) hurts everyone.

It has Wall St. on it. Stop whining about idiocy; If there ever was a rich neighborhood in the United States, that would be it. And all of New York has exorbinantly high cost of living, apartments are tiny, real estate is at a premium -- I could go on. All of that is because that's where the financial businesses are. And that's the reason why these areas haven't been reinforced or evacuated. And for the record -- New Orleans also has a location which is important as an "inherent part of its geography" .. along with every other coastal city. You can't say "Oh, but New York is special!" Bullshit. There's no genetic code forcing people to live there. There's no natural resource so valuable it can't be found anywhere else in the world.

This isn't about "class envy", this is about engineering: If every few years your city gets flooded and stormed on, maybe that's nature's way of saying "Hey, dumb fucks -- move somewhere more hospitable." And no amount of tunnel and subway protection is going to help when there's twenty feet of water on every surface street! Now yes, you probably could throw a few hundred billion or a few trillion dollars at the problem and "solve it", but it's a lot more practical to simply build in a place that isn't going to be hammered all the time.

I'm sick of watching billions of dollars every year go to save these asshats that live in flood-prone areas. That costs me -- a person who was smart enough to not live in an area mother nature periodically feels like taking a giant piss in. Why should I have to be paying for your idiocy? So you can have a "by the ocean" view? Fuck you. Build your city somewhere sane.

Re:Only idea sure to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945499)

isn't it Seattle that basically has an old abandoned city under the city, because the city was raised something like ten feet to avoid flooding?

Re:Only idea sure to work (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 2 years ago | (#41945207)

Nuke it from the orbit. It's the only way to be sure.


Re:Only idea sure to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945353)

Hmm. Last time I looked, New Orleans was still along I-10, between the lake and the Gulf.

Re:Only idea sure to work (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41945917)

After New Orleans was hit, the population dropped and has now stabilized at less than 400,000 people, down form half a million. In 1900 Galveston was hit, killing as many as 10,000 people, out a population of 40,000. Most packed up, moved inland to Houston, and built the ship channel. The city is built to flood. New York, if it stays, is going to have to built to flood, built to be rebuilt. Have flood insurance, have replaceable components, if NYC is going to stay. Which is has to be because it establishes and protect the minuscule sea access it has.,

Re:Only idea sure to work (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#41945949)

The only idea that's sure to work is to move the city to a safer location. Or at least the parts of it most suseptible to flooding. perhaps it's because we're talking about rich white guys now instead of poor black people that we should expend billions fortifying and rebuilding those neighborhoods?

You do know that Harlem is Uptown Manhattan, right? North of Central Park?

That Manhattan Island alone has a population of 1.6 million, Long Island 7.6 million and metro New York City as a whole, 22 million?

What doesn't work (4, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41944591)

Naming the roads 'Canal St', 'Water St.', etc. 1821 to 2012 is too long a period for oral history to be effective.

Because: lazy and cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944601)

it costs extra to protect utilities from disaster. it costs extra to put generators several floors away from the ground where fuel needs to be pumped. it costs extra to test systems and make sure they're disaster-resilient. also, there's potential liability in the case of a failure during a test: if you institute a chaos monkey to kill the power to some random block in your city once per week, when it chooses the hospital and people die because emergency facilities weren't quite ready, lawyers will have a field day.

around here (southeast, where the most destructive things we get are short-lived tornadoes) it's not only cheaper to hang the electric lines in the air than bury them, they don't have to use their own money to repair them when storms hit - that's what insurance and emergency management agencies are for. so we save money overall by hanging wire where they're more susceptible to damage, *plus* the laborers doing the repairs get a boost to their paychecks in emergency overtime compensation.

Re:Because: lazy and cheap (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41944695)

The story link goes to an NBC news story containing a video of how the Netherlands handles storm surges. NY can do the same thing, though it would cost 15 billion to build. Guess the NYSE isn't considered worth it.

Re:Because: lazy and cheap (2)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 2 years ago | (#41945133)

Well, to be fair, it took about 2000 dead bodies in 1953 before the Netherlands built the Delta Works [] , so I guess NY just has to wait for that to happen.

That's how government spending should work, right? You should only want to pay for it after lots of people have died?

Not an issue... (2)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#41944611)

Has this ever happened before?
What are the odds of it happening again?
Its like terrorism... we need to use it as an excuse to spend lots of taxpayer money.
Wasn't there another recent article on how climate change is an act of terrorism?

Re:Not an issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944641)

It happened last year, though to a somewhat lesser extent with Irene. There was still major flooding damage, subway closures and power outages. Yes, it wasn't as bad, but it was still pretty bad. It's not safe to predict that these things aren't going to become more common.

Climate Change? (1, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#41944613)

People could start taking climate change seriously and reduce CO2 emissions.

Re:Climate Change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944835)

Sure, if people had done this 30 years ago, this wouldn't have happened.

Serious Climate Change? (2)

h00manist (800926) | about 2 years ago | (#41944979)

It's still getting worse, and it still has to be done. Technically it actually seems easier every day to create always more sources of power, but politics and established economic interests mandates that people react to disasters after the fact. I'd just build nuclear reactors and electric trains everywhere, large but gradually increasing taxes on polluters, and subsidies for clean power. Heck, we're spending a ton of money and risks importing shiploads of raw materials for power.

Re:Climate Change? (0, Flamebait)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 2 years ago | (#41945009)

Surely that would prevent hurricans from hitting New York they way they did in 1938, 1893, 1869, 1821 and 1815.

You're fools for not protecting your cities, even after they've seen storms and destruction over and over again in the extremely short history of the USA. The kind of foolishness that only Americans can come up with. Combine that with a religious approach to just about anything and that's how you come up with nonsense like reducing CO2 emissions to prevent stuff from happening that has happened at much lower CO2 concentrations in much greater frequency and force.

Re:Climate Change? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 2 years ago | (#41945365)

People could start taking Cthulhu seriously and start sacrificing to him. Same results.

Re:Climate Change? (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41945593)


Then care to explain why NYC was hit by regular cat 3 hurricanes all the way through the little ice age? Since the killer 1938 hurricane we haven't had a single strong storm

Sandy was barely a cat 1 storm. It hit at high tide And with the full moon which is what caused the flooding.

Here in NYC the flooding didn't start until it made landfall and the wind died down

be better not to protect it (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944617)

I lived in NYC for 3 years and it was little more than a den of mammy rammers, cake eaters, teapot punters, and ramble hosers. Super who was an idiot and a toe stumper if you know what I mean. Regular bloke of the brown, not that he'd ever admit it.

Let the place wash away, nature reclaim the land, and the world will be better off for it.

Stop burning fossil fuels (1)

biodata (1981610) | about 2 years ago | (#41944689)

Is it really that difficult a question? We'vve known for decades but somehow everyone wants to pretend otherwise.

Re:Stop burning fossil fuels (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 2 years ago | (#41944861)

You're going to need a lot more nuclear plants for that. If they are light water, they'll all be fucked during the next disaster. Best allow research for LFTR's.

The ONLY way to stop burning fossil fuels is to introduce a power source that is cheaper. Any and all action that ignores this basic rule of economics will either be circumvented, or result in tragedy.

Re:Stop burning fossil fuels (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 2 years ago | (#41945791)

Best allow research for LFTR's.

All the necessary research was done in the 1960s and '70s. Just let someone build the damn things already.

We can build more power sources in no time (1)

h00manist (800926) | about 2 years ago | (#41945049)

I really don't see what's the deal, besides an oil industry investing in a massive PR program to convince us all that their oil is the only source of power. If all the oil and coal in the world disappeared tomorrow, I'm sure lots of power sources would be built at record speeds. Power of any kind needed, clean or any other, The whole debate just relegated to the history books. Once necessity hits the fan, the creative juices will create self-powering airplanes that run infinetely. Oh wait, that's done already.

Re:Stop burning fossil fuels (0)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 2 years ago | (#41945393)

Decades ago we "knew" that civilization was causing a new ice age.

Re:Stop burning fossil fuels (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41945637)

Will you stop that? In the 1970's a few scientists thought that we might be trending into another ice age. Then that pretty much fell out of favor because the data didn't support it.

Do you do everything your mother told you to do when you were 5?

You have to grow up physically, growing up intellectually is optional, but highly recommended.

To hell with NYC!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41944693)

The entire world would be better off without NYC ... it's a dirty Agenda 21 authoritarian hellhole and home
to the "United Nations" and all the Wall St.. criminals.

fight fire with fire (1)

udachny (2454394) | about 2 years ago | (#41944789)

Nuke the storms. You know it's coming.


Seriously though, let the free market take over the economy, get rid of government regulations surrounding nuclear energy, allow people to research and develop better nuclear energy solutions.

Clearly an engineering problrem... (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41944791)

Crack it loose, and tug boat it to north Africa... no storms!, at the same time you can just let the depressed neighborhoods break off (wink,nod) and there's your urban renewal all in one shot!

NYC should relocate upstate (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about 2 years ago | (#41944915)

Sure there's more snow upstate, but there's plenty of land and it would be nice to remake NYC as a modern city, with shorter buildings housing larger apartments, spaced further apart. We could call it New New York.

Re:NYC should relocate upstate (1)

confused one (671304) | about 2 years ago | (#41945411)

I thought New New York was on New Earth?

Not all that hard (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41944923)

Protecting Manhattan isn't that difficult. It's clear that the Con Ed station on 14th St needs to be raised; that's too important to be flooded out again. The subway system needs flood gates at several points. The London and Singapore systems have flood gates. The old Pennsylvania Railroad North Tunnels have flood gates, which Amtrak didn't maintain and were supposed to be fixed after 2001 as an anti-terrorism measure.

Some of the subway stations need extra protection, especially South Ferry. They need strong emergency flood barriers. Sandbags didn't work because a big piece of wood (about 1' x 1' by 15') from a construction site crashed through them and ended up in the booking hall. They need steel barriers that are raised out of the ground when necessary. Extra pumping capacity with backup power is indicated, too.

Those are no-brainers. After major hurricanes two years in a row, there's no question that those basic fixes are needed. Beyond that, it might be worthwhile to raise the ground level of the parks in the Battery Park area by a few meters. FDR Drive may need a flood wall south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Those are less urgent.

Barrier islands like Fire Island and the Rockaways, and the Jersey shore, are too low to fix. Just make sure everybody evacuates in time. (About 140 people refused to evacuate Fire Island, and getting them off after the island had been cut in two by the storm risked the lives of emergency personnel. The first group of rescuers had to be rescued.) Require Florida-level hurricane protection in house construction. Require paid-up private insurance for anyone who wants to build in the flood zone. Put in hurricane-resistant solar panel powered street lights (a commercially available product), so there's some light no matter what happens. A strict "no tall trees near power lines" policy may be necessary in the coastal zone.

New York State has a valuable resource - big rocks. Where roads and railroad tracks need to be protected against washouts, big rocks, too big for a storm to move (granite boulders the size of a SUV) should be used extensively.

(Forget the "balloon tunnel plug" idea. Something like that was used at the Penn Station yards, and it burst when hit by something.)

Look to Tokyo (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | about 2 years ago | (#41944955)

They have worse storms every few months.

Re:Look to Tokyo (2)

JBMcB (73720) | about 2 years ago | (#41945045)

Tokyo is sheltered from the sea in an inlet. NYC sticks right out into the Atlantic seaboard. What they do in Tokyo won't work in NYC.

Re:Look to Tokyo (3, Informative)

jc42 (318812) | about 2 years ago | (#41945721)

Tokyo is sheltered from the sea in an inlet. NYC sticks right out into the Atlantic seaboard. What they do in Tokyo won't work in NYC.

Oh, I dunno about that. I have two Google Maps windows on my screen right now, one of the New York area, the other of the Tokyo area, at the same scale. True, the details are different, but overall they don't seem to be very different in their exposure to the nearby oceans.

If anything, it looks like New York is better protected, especially Manhattan Island. It's at the north end of the 8-mile-lond Upper Bay, which has a rather narrow (~1 mile) opening into the Lower Bay, which in turn has a couple of barrier islands and a lot of continental shelf between Manhattan and the deep ocean.

Tokyo is on the much larger Tokyo Bay, which is rather serpentine, and connected to the Inland Sea by the Uraga channel, around 6 miles wide. But the city area is near the eastern end of the Inland Sea, with no significant continental shelf. So if anything, Tokyo is more exposed, by the closeness of the open ocean and deep water, with wider channels to the central city area.

But overall, they don't look all that different. And Tokyo has the extra problem of being in an active volcanic zone, while New York's geological underpinnings are much older and stabler.

I'd guess that, all things considered, New York's geological, hydrographic and meteorological environment is somewhat safer than Tokyo's, though probably not by much. The general cost of protecting them isn't really all that different.

The difference is that the Japanese are well aware of the dangers inherent in their natural environment, while New Yorkers are either oblivious or arrogantly sure that God/Nature/whatever is on their side. The Japanese weren't all that surprised by the recent epic earthquake and tsunami. New Yorkers seem surprised and offended that the natural world could do something catastrophic to them.

as long as they pay for it (4, Insightful)

kenorland (2691677) | about 2 years ago | (#41944965)

NYC is where it is mostly because of shipping, harbors, and the merchants that got rich on that. Those made it a favorable place to live despite the costs of coastal living. These days, that location makes little sense. There is still shipping, of course, but not much reason why our financial center should be there.

So, leave it up to New Yorkers: as long as they want to pay and are able to pay for defending the city against the elements, let them. Once it doesn't make economic sense anymore, people will stop building there and people will move elsewhere. This has happened time and again to cities in human history, it's a natural process.

Re:as long as they pay for it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945141)

Really, Name 5 major cities this has happened to in the last 2500 years.

Re:as long as they pay for it (1)

drcheap (1897540) | about 2 years ago | (#41945513)

So, leave it up to New Yorkers: as long as they want to pay and are able to pay for defending the city against the elements, let them.

Most people will agree with that statement. However, they are just like you, too narrow minded to realize that those costs would not come 100% from "within" as you suggest.

An even better idea (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41945075)

Don't build large cities with 10 million people where a bad storm can put them underwater.

Re:An even better idea (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41945913)

Small detail: nobody built that city. It just sort of grew up there.

Long term solution (-1, Offtopic)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#41945089)

Cut down on burning fossil fuels. Doing that now is cheaper than repairing the damage and installing preventive measures agains floods and storms later.

Re:Long term solution (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 2 years ago | (#41945223)

Sure, that's going to prevent hurricanes that have happened for thousands of years before anybody in Europe, Africa or Asia knew about America.

Re:Long term solution (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#41945519)

"Cut down on burning fossil fuels. Doing that now is cheaper than repairing the damage and installing preventive measures agains floods and storms later."

Citation needed. Storm damage is an opportunity for urban renewal, and the casualty rate is trivial compared to accepted activities such as being hospitalized and driving to work.

Re:Long term solution (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41945921)

Sorry, too late.

bleh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945155)

Let them do what so many of them said to do when Katrina hit New Orleans: Move away from the coast.

oh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945167)

Stop burning fossil fuels. After all, we all know not a single hurricane ever hit up there until well after the industrial revolution.........

put your fate in Jesus to the test (1)

zugedneb (601299) | about 2 years ago | (#41945177)

and level the shit with the ground, thain wait for him to come back and rebuild it in 3 days...

He would com for u americans, would he not?

PS. but check the weather forcast, so you have 3 sunny days commin up :DDD

It's The Money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945231)

Sadly the older cities in America did almost nothing to control population density. It goes without saying that less people and dwellings per square mile reduces the impact of disaters in numerous ways. Assume that NYC will do nothing to get a sane population density. Homes that must be rebuilt need to be built on a strict storm code and in areas where surge is a potential issue the homes need to be on stilts as well. Consideration might be given to making cars and small trucks illegal in the neighborhoods as well. Under ground stirage of fuel or oil or cemetaries or businesses that deal with chemicals need to be zoned out as well. The effect of safe housing will be to greatly invrease the cost of ownership or rents which is a disaster in itself. I am not certain that seawalls or barriers could work in that region. There are many variables.
                    One stunning issue will be insurance. In Florida we know what occurs when insurance agencies have to make big pay outs. Most will refuse to insure in the area or make the insurance so expensive that it is absurd. Those insurance companies are a big problem anyway as failure might take down banks as well.
                      The best option is to return the land to a park like area and get rid of all homes and businesses in areas that were hit by storm surge. Fat chance of that takinbg place I suppose.

Re:It's The Money! (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41945719)

Yeah, here a map [] to an area outside San Bernadino, with tract house built DIRECTLY ON the San Andreas fault. In fact here's a site, and you can travel over the entire Google Map with the San Andreas fault superimposed on the map here [] .

I'm pretty sure if they're willing to sell you a 3 bedroom delux ranch style sitting on the San Adreas fault, pretty much anything goes

I know, I know!!! (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41945613)

Fill the skyscrapers with helium to lift Manhattan Island!!!

The best solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41945697)

I propose putting a giant 100% airtight and secure dome over the entirety of new york. Not for just storms... all the time.

I call it thunderdome. season 1.

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