Monday, December 10, 2012

Storm problems were predicted decades ago

From the AP:

More than three decades before Superstorm Sandy, a state law and a series of legislative reports began warning New York politicians to prepare for a storm of historic proportions, spelling out scenarios eerily similar to what actually happened: a towering storm surge; overwhelming flooding; swamped subway lines; widespread power outages. The Rockaway peninsula was deemed among the "most at risk."

But most of the warnings and a requirement in a 1978 law to create a regularly updated plan for the restoration of "vital services" after a storm went mostly unheeded, either because of tight budgets or the lack of political will to prepare for a hypothetical storm that may never hit.

Some of the thorniest problems after Sandy, including a gasoline shortage, the lack of temporary housing and the flooding of commuter tunnels, ended up being dealt with largely on the fly.

"I don't know that anyone believed," acknowledged Gov. Andrew Cuomo this past week. "We had never seen a storm like this. So it is very hard to anticipate something that you have never experienced."

Asked how well prepared state officials were for Sandy, Cuomo said, "not well enough."
It wasn't as if the legislative actions over the years were subtle. They all had a common, emphatic theme: Act immediately before it's too late.

The 1978 executive law required a standing state Disaster Preparedness Commission to meet at least twice a year to create and update disaster plans. It mandated the state to address temporary housing needs after a disaster, create a detailed plan to restore services, maintain sewage treatment, prevent fires, assure generators "sufficient to supply" nursing homes and other health facilities, and "protect and assure uninterrupted delivery of services, medicines, water, food, energy and fuel."

Reports in 2005, 2006 and 2010 added urgency. "It's not a question of whether a strong hurricane will hit New York City," the 2006 Assembly report warned. "It's just a question of when."

A 2010 task force report to the Legislature concluded: "The combination of rising sea level, continuing climate change, and more development in high-risk areas has raised the level of New York's vulnerability to coast storms. ... The challenge is real, and sea level rise will progress regardless of New York's response."

The Disaster Preparedness Commission met biannually some years, but there are gaps in which there is no record of a meeting. However, some administrations, including Cuomo's, convened many of the same agency heads to discuss emergency management. But even under Cuomo, who has taken a much greater interest in emergency management after three violent storms in his first two years in office, there are still three vacancies on the commission.


Anonymous said...

Here's the solution to the flood danger at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel: rename it after Hugh Carey. Oh the geniuses we keep reelecting.

Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter is that everyone with any sense knew about this - that this was inevitable.

The really bad thing is not that the pols let it slide, and in the face of reality, put 1000s in harm's way so they could harvest campaign donations from a handful of sleaze bag developers and support from the boys in the concrete 'trades.'

The problem is how the self-absorbed New Yorkers let this happen. I picked up a copy of New York Magazine and walked through its pages.

So this explains why we have our city and politics the way it is!

So this is how people focus their attention!

Trees cut and ink spilled for the frivolous and outright stupid. The party still continues for those who walk around with their head stuck up their ass!

Meanwhile anyone that tried to break the party, had the audacity to think, to speak their minds, were not only marginalized and belittled, but had funds cut for the crime of doing their duty as citizens.

Now we have to spend billions of money we do not have, and are facing 1000s of people who are suffering (and whose experiences are being hidden as much as possible in the media).

God knows how many who will die from the cold, neglect, mold and having their community bathed in a toxic soup.

But at least we can read about Oprah and Martha and Gangnam and pricey dining and killer co-ops and trendy holiday gifts.

I feel better already. Don't you?

Anonymous said...

see: NY POST ,12-10-12 "EXTREME WEATHER & SUPERSTITION", by Alexander

the article is right ON TOPIC.....


Jerry Rotondi said...

but Emperor Bloomberg still wants to develop NYC's vulnerable waterfront--even though the Army Corps of Engineers (and others) said it wasn't a very good idea to do so!

"So, let it be written. So, let it be done", our obstinate half pint pharoah screams out his orders.

"Develop! Develop! Develop"!


Might Emperor Bloomberg be Emperor Caligula's deranged descendant?

Anonymous said...

It is human nature. When you are cleaning up from the last storm, you can least afford to prepare for the next one. When the pain has passed, so has your fear.