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NYC braces for effects of climate change with new flood maps

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It would be the first revision made in over 30 years

It's no secret that New York City is going to feel the adverse effects of climate change, and possibly sooner than anyone thinks—remember that New York Times report that predicted NYC could be underwater in less than a century? But the city is taking small steps toward mitigating that threat, including its latest move: Mayor Bill de Blasio and FEMA agreed to revise New York City’s flood maps, including using new methods to better predict where and how climate change may have the biggest impact in the coming years.

The current maps used to determine which areas and homes are at greatest risk for flooding (and therefore which homeowners need to procure flood insurance) haven't been updated since 1983. But the new maps will include thousands more structures in its flood risk calculations, and, the city hopes, will more accurately reflect homes and buildings that are at risk during floods storm surges.

As for the forward-thinking part of the new plans, the city and FEMA will partner with New York City Panel on Climate Change (a group of experts who advise on climate-related matters) to create "a new set of flood maps for planning and building purposes that better accounts for the future risk of sea level rise and coastal storm surge," according to a press release.

"We are building a stronger, more resilient city to confront climate change. Our city needs precise flood maps that reflect real risks, both today and years from now—and we have to do that fairly," said Mayor de Blasio. These steps may not change the fact that much of the city could be underwater in the future, but hey, every little bit helps.