How Sandy Changed Everything
- Nov 29, 2012
After tearing through the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy slowly but surely made its way up the Eastern Seaboard as emergency and evacuation plans were implemented. Thanks to weather forecasting technology, we did have a heads-up that this was a new breed of “Superstorm” never before seen in our area. But seeing is believing. When Sandy finally touched down near Atlantic City with maximum sustained winds of about 80 miles per hour, its impact was felt in many states resulting in widespread power outages, mass flooding, electrical fires, snow and more than 100 deaths. Entire neighborhoods were demolished and properties with extensive flooding will require environmental remediation before they’re livable again. The devastation is so severe that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie put politics aside to praise President Obama’s quick response to the storm-ravaged areas. And here in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg went a step further, announcing he was endorsing Barack Obama for president, citing the fact that the city has had to evacuate low-lying neighborhoods for hurricanes twice in just 14 months—something the New York City government had never had to do before.
“Our climate is changing,” Bloomberg said, “and while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of [global warming], the risk that it might be—given this week’s devastation—should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.” According to the mayor, New York City has cut its carbon footprint by 16 percent in the last five years, which is the equivalent of eliminating the carbon footprint of a city twice the size of Seattle. It will be interesting to see if we sustain our concern about extreme weather events, whether cities including New York plant marshes or erect sea walls to protect shores from flooding, and whether the re-building effort will incorporate new ideas for how to protect against, and/or interact with, extreme weather conditions. What new ideas do you think should emerge in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy? Or was this just a “100 year storm?”