NYC unveils new blueprint to combat extreme weather following Ida

Local News
Tropical Weather New York

Cars and trucks are stranded by high water Thursday, Sept 2, 2021, on the Major Deegan Expressway in Bronx borough of New York as high water left behind by Hurricane Ida still stands on the highway hours later. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK — Following the devastation left by remnants of Hurricane Ida, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a new blueprint Monday to combat extreme weather and protect New Yorkers from future storms.

The mayor released “The New Normal: Combatting Storm-Related Extreme Weather in New York City,” a report that would provide the five boroughs a new blueprint to prepare for and respond to future storms like Ida.

“Extreme weather is more common than ever, and more severe than ever. Business as usual is over. Keeping New Yorkers safe means profoundly changing the way we prepare for – and react to – this new normal,” said the mayor. “This new report charts a path forward for investing in vulnerable neighborhoods, shoring up our infrastructure, warning communities ahead of major weather events, and better tracking storms before they arrive. I’m proud to share it with New Yorkers, and I look forward to forging a safer and more resilient city.”

The mayor announced plans to support the report’s recommendations with $2.1 billion in new funding at the Department of Environmental Protection, $238 million in accelerated funding for crucial DEP projects, $400 million in new funding for other priority capital projects among key agencies including the Parks Department; Department of Transportation, NYCHA, and the School Construction Authority; and $25 million in expense funding for Fiscal Year 2022.

Strategies under “The New Normal” include:

  • Educate, train and acclimate New Yorkers to this new reality
  • Increase planning for the wor-st case scenario 
  • Accelerate upgrades to storm modeling, tracking and alert systems
  •  Broaden protection for inland communities, not just the coastline areas
  • Protect basement and cellar occupants
  • Prioritize investments in low-income neighborhoods, immigrant communities and communities of color
  • Reimagine sewage and drainage system
  • Call on support from the state and federal government

Ida battered the tri-state region earlier this month, killing at least 13 people in New York City, with the majority of the fatalities caused by basement flooding.

The mayor also announced the creation of the city’s first “Rainboots on the Ground” program, which is a program to distribute educational information on evacuation procedures to basement apartment residents and vulnerable neighborhoods.

Starting in 2022, the city will contract with about 60 community-based organizations to canvass those neighborhoods and highlight the threats posed by extreme weather.

In the immediate aftermath of Ida, the city began an unprecedented cleanup and recovery effort, which included making over 480,000 phone calls, sending 200,000 text messages, and knocking on nearly 30,000 doors.

Another 842 New Yorkers were housed in hotels and over 250,000 meals were distributed while 18,600 tons of debris was picked up by the Sanitation Department. 

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