Yesterday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency proposed changes to NYC’s decades-old flood zone maps that nearly double the number of people and buildings at risk to 400,000 residents and 70,000 buildings. Though a two-year review is still required before the new maps will be deemed official, scientists are predicting that conditions are only going to get worse as ice caps melt, sea levels around the city rise (a predicted 12 to 55 inches by 2080) and temperatures increase. In light of these developments and the damage we’ve already seen from events like Hurricane Sandy, city officials will be revealing their plans to protect New York from future storms this afternoon.

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“We have to look ahead and anticipate any and all future threats, not only from hurricanes and other coastal storms but also from droughts, heavy downpours and heat waves many of which are likely to be longer and more intense in the years to come,” reads an excerpt from Mayor Bloomberg’s planned speech for this afternoon.

While the plan that is set to be released today will include detailed chapters on each community affected by Hurricane Sandy during the October storm, the report will focus on general weather events that can potentially affect the city in the future. On Monday, Deputy Mayor Caswell Holloway and President of the city Economic Development Corp Seth Pinsky detailed climate-change-related problems that the mayor is setting out to address today.

The proposed infrastructure proposals are expected to cost billions of dollars in capital spending (paid for through municipal bonds). Last month, Mayor Bloomberg proposed the installation of removable steel panels along the city’s coastline in key flood-prone areas. Other recommended proposals in the report include providing the city’s subway and bus depots with inflatable cylinder-shaped water gates to protect from flooding.


Via Crain’s New York

Images via NYC Mayor’s office