With the imminent Atlantic Ocean hurricane season predicted to be even worse than last year's, the Daily Intelligencer wanted to know if New York City was prepared for the next Sandy, so they did a lot of digging to find the answer. Which is a big fat NO. Here are five reasons why various vital parts of the city's infrastructure are still vulnerable, more than seven months after the superstorm that left us reeling:
1) Because long-term plans to prevent future flooding of the subway haven't yet been implemented, the MTA would have to resort to temporary measures to surround the 540 openings to the system with sandbags or plywood. But can they guarantee that those moves would prevent the subterranean swamps that some stations morphed into? Nope.
2) Though Con Ed has raised some of its equipment off the ground and built some concrete walls around power stations, there's still a chance that storm surges could cause widespread outages. The utility still wants to spend $1 billion on improvements and safety measures, but those'll take awhile.
3) Though the five hospitals evacuations that occurred during Sandy didn't result in any deaths, there have been virtually no efforts made to shore up or flood-proof those medical centers if another superstorm rolls through town. The typical bugbears are to blame: lack of funds; lack of time. But hospitals are having a lot of meetings, which is always reassuring.
4) Gas stations have been incentivized to keep backup generators on site in order to keep the fuel flowing should another hurricane shut down the supply chain. But outside of that one front-end measure, not much has been accomplished yet to keep us swimming in gas in the face of severe obstacles.
5) Perhaps most important?at least when it comes to residential property?hard-hit waterfront areas, like the Rockaways and Staten Island, are still at risk. Despite the fact that the Rockaways busted their butts to get ready for this summer's beachgoers and is now kitted out with seaside bathrooms and the like, most homeowners are still grappling with damage. And although a defensive line of barriers, bags, and additional sand is in the works, it's not done yet. For its part, Staten Island is getting a beefed-up dune system whose installation won't be finished until this year's hurricane season is well underway. A new system is also being implemented that expands the areas ordered to evacuate in the event of a storm, but sadly, there's no way to force people to comply.
Overall, unfortunately, it looks like the city has a ways to go before it can survive another Sandy-level hurricane unscathed.
· Is New York City Ready for Another Sandy? [Intelligencer]
· All Hurricane Sandy coverage [Curbed]