New York City Officials Warned of Storm Surge Dangers in 2009

New York City Officials Warned of Storm Surge Dangers in 2009


12/12/2012 // New York City, NY, USA // New York City Accident Lawyer // Jonathan C Reiter // (press release)

In the wake of the destruction left by Hurricane Sandy, The American Society of Civil Engineers is pointing out that its 2009 seminar presented detailed warnings that a devastating storm surge in the New York/New Jersey region was inevitable.

The warnings were presented at a seminar in New York City, explains New York City injury lawyer Jonathan C Reiter. Corporate, academic, and government engineers from the American Society of Civil Engineers presented computer simulations of the storm surge threat the region faced and provided engineering designs and measures that would mitigate the effects. Findings from The American Society of Civil Engineers are often written into building codes around the world, due to their sophistication, attention to detail, and clarity.

The 2009 seminar called on city officials to seriously consider installing surge barriers or tide gates in New York Harbor that would protect the city. Mr. Reiter notes that any effort to install these types of barriers would be costly and timely, requiring many years of design and construction. Furthermore, if the government had in fact taken on the proposed measures, they would not have been in place to prevent the destruction caused by last year’s Tropical Storm Irene or this year’s Hurricane Sandy.

Some scientists have championed for harbor barriers and levies for years and have recently compared the New England devastation to that of Katrina’s aftermath, recalling the warnings that went unheard prior to the storm.

Malcom Bowman, a professor of oceanography at the State University at Stony Brook told The New York Times “Scientists and engineers were saying years before Katrina happened, ‘Hey it’s going to happen, folks. Stop putting your head in the sand.’” He continued, “The same thing’s now happened here.”

The main proposals include building a roughly five-mile barrier from Sandy Hook, N.J, to the Rockaway Peninsula. A smaller barrier would stretch across the top of the East River.

Experts who attended the conference acknowledge the questions about cost versus benefit, as the price of these barriers would exceed $10 billion. They back the benefits by pointing to other nations who have enlisted the technology, including the Netherlands, Russia and England, on the Thames. Several American cities also have versions of the structures and barriers.

A newfound sense of urgency has swept city officials since Hurricane Sandy, and research that is already underway will likely reach a larger audience when published.

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