Archive for the tag 'hurricanes' built this map, predicting the risposed by storm surges of various heights. This shows a 10' surge. built this map, predicting the risk posed by storm surges of various heights. This shows a 10′ surge.

The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), the federal government’s weather sleuths, will soon launch storm surge warning maps to help highlight the specific areas vulnerable to flooding in advance of individual storm surges, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced yesterday.

Schumer’s office explains in a press release:

[B]eginning with the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) will issue the Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map for areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts at risk of storm surge from a tropical cyclone.  According to NOAA, the maps will highlight geographical areas where inundation from storm surge could occur and how high above ground the water could reach in those areas.  The maps will show inundation levels that have a ten percent chance of being exceeded and can therefore be thought of as representing a reasonable worst-case scenario.

Schumer had urged the creation of the maps – similar to those already made for tropical storms, hurricanes and tornadoes – in order to help convey surge predictions to local governments and emergency managers in advance of an expected storm.

Although the senator’s office said the maps were now available on NOAA’s website, we couldn’t find them. That might be because there’s no imminent threat of a storm surge, or because NOAA’s website is, itself, a haggard vortex of impenetrable jargon.

Fortunately, since we’re sure you clicked this link to look at maps that illustrate just how screwed you are in future storm surges, other people have made those. Like this one. Look at how screwed you are. Quite screwed.

(Note: We removed the embedded map because it sucks, but you can see how screwed you are – interactively – here.)

New evacuation map

New evacuation map

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration released a new evacuation map on Tuesday, creating a more zone system and adding 600,000 additional people to evacuation areas.

The new maps create zones numbered one through six, replacing Zones A, B and C, offering city officials more leeway in ordering specific areas to evacuate in the face of an oncoming storm and tidal surge. As many as 2,990,000 residents citywide now live in the zones – a number larger than the entire population of Brooklyn, the city’s largest borough.

Most notable, some parts of the zones extend further inland in Brooklyn and Queens, and sees areas like Gerritsen Beach – previously a secondary evacuation zone – bumped up to a primary area after it experienced extensive flooding during Superstorm Sandy.

In the new system, Zone 1 is the most vulnerable to flooding. In addition to Gerritsen Beach, Coney Island, the Rockaways, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and all of Sheepshead Bay south of the Belt Parkway are Zone 1.

Furthermore, the new zones include the addition of 26 Housing Authority developments, four hospitals and nine nursing homes. The administration was battered by critics after Sandy for not evacuating hospitals and nursing homes, and also for poorly responding to the needs of residents living in Housing Authority facilities.

Comparing it to the old map, it appears Zone 1, the primary evacuation zone, shrank in some areas compared to Zone A, and expanded in others. The old maps included a swath of Sheepshead Bay, from approximately Bedford Avenue to Ocean Parkway, up to Avenue X in the north, as Zone A. That’s been divided up between Zone 1 and 2. Elsewhere, including Gerritsen Beach, Mill Basin, parts of Bath Beach and the Canarsie coastline have been swapped from Zone B to Zone 1, reflecting the extent of Sandy’s flooding.

In fact, it appears that Zone 1 is based almost directly on the lines of where major flooding occurred during Sandy.

The new map and current evacuation orders can be seen here.

Do you live on a block that flooded during Sandy, but is not in Zone 1? Do you think you should be in Zone 1, or in a different zone than where you are? Let us know in the comments.


Left: old map; Right: new map (Click to enlarge)


Sandy as seen from outer space. (Source:

June 1 marked the dreaded beginning of “hurricane season,” an event that people in the area will take more seriously this year thanks to Superstorm Sandy. A Wall Street Journal report cited a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that predicts 2013 will be an “active or extremely active” hurricane season. The study lists a 70 percent chance that the season will see 13-20 named storms and three to six major hurricanes.

With news that grim, it is important that everyone prepare themselves for hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) prepared a 7-part YouTube series, available in both English and Spanish, that provides vital step-by-step information on how to best prepare for hurricane season.

The NHC also includes a link to their Tropical Cyclone Preparedness guide and reminds people that the most important thing to remember in the event of a hurricane is to use common sense.

FEMA, through, put together their own hurricane guide that includes tips for preparing for storms. The Red Cross also has their own guide that includes a thorough checklist of all supplies needed in the event of another major storm.

Here at Sheepshead Bites we hope everyone stays prepared and stays safe. We encourage our readers to review and bookmark these resource guides for future reference.

Photo by Erica Sherman

It’s taken some serious beatings over the course of its 131-plus years of existence, most recently during the unprecedented swath of destruction unleashed by Superstorm Sandy, but after months of repairs by Department of Transportation contractors, Sheepshead Bay’s Ocean Avenue footbridge has finally reopened.

After a series of email exchanges with the DOT inquiring into when the bridge would finally be open (we were initially told, weather permitting, by the end of December, which later turned into the end of January), we are pleased to say that the bridge has been reopened to pedestrian foot traffic as of this past Friday. So that’s actually somewhat ahead of schedule.

Thrashed by a combination of violent waves during the storm’s high tide, and the terrifying howl of 90-MPH winds, which sent untethered boats crashing wildly into the bridge’s structure, passersby were shocked the next morning to see huge portions of blue wooden handrail either dangling into the water or completely washed away, one of the more high profile symbols of destruction that trounced our area.

So, to all you pedestrians out there, who hated having to take the long and tedious route, around Emmons to Shore Boulevard, to get to Manhattan Beach and vice versa, your prayers have finally been answered. However, you may wish to take a flashlight with you when you cross the bridge, since the DOT is still working on the lighting.

Photo by Brian Hoo

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, one of the more iconic symbols of the devastation wrought, was the significant damage the footbridge incurred. Tipster and Sheepshead Bites contributor Brian Hoo sent us this photo (above) of some men working to repair the wooden connection between Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard.

This is what the bridge looked like immediate following the storm:

And, in happier days:

Photo by Jenelle Buccheri

Source: Antonio Martínez López / Flickr

THE COMMUTE: Last week, I wrote that fewer than 50 people showed up at the Brooklyn fare hike hearing, held the same day as the nor’easter, which possibly explains the low turnout. However, how do you also account for the low turnouts in Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens?

Approximately 120 people, including myself, attended the Manhattan hearing, held in an auditorium that could have accommodated at least 10 times the number of participants. Only approximately 30 attended the Bronx hearing. The Queens hearing was so sparsely attended, that there was a break before the 8:00 p.m. concluding time to allow for more speakers to arrive.

Even the elected officials seemed to boycott these hearings. In the Bronx, only Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz of Riverdale spoke. In the Manhattan, former mayoral aspirant Scott Stringer — who has now decided to enter the race for NYC Comptroller instead — testified. This is a marked contrast to the 2010 service cut hearings, which were so widely attended by the public and elected officials that many intending speakers, such as Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo, left after two or three hours waiting their turn. That Brooklyn hearing concluded at 11:30 p.m. So what happened this time?

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Source: JohnnyBarker / Flickr

For some people, Hurricane Sandy came and went, barely disrupting their lives or neighborhoods. Others, especially the elderly living in Brighton Beach and Coney Island, were not nearly as lucky. A report in the New York Daily News chronicles the weeks-long nightmare that elderly New York City Housing Authority residents have faced in Sandy’s aftermath.

Virtual prisoners of their own apartments, scores of seniors were shut in their homes without power, heat, hot water, and medical supplies, and had no one coming by to check in on or assist them. New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio blames the mayor’s office and NYCHA for failing to do a more extensive door to door check of people’s homes affected by shortages of essential needs.

The city claims to have visited more than 65,000 apartments, with 42,000 of those being NYCHA properties. However, de Blasio told The Daily News that the effort wasn’t enough. “They’re missing whole parts of the city. It’s scattershot. We hear it over and over: ‘No one has knocked on our door.’”

Those the city missed include Irine Lombardo, a 74-year-old Coney Island resident forced to evacuate her flood-damaged apartment to a friend in Brighton Beach. During the storm, she lost her oxygen tanks, and when forced to relocat to a friend’s fifth floor apartment in Brighton Beach, she had no access to electricity, heat, or hot water, leaving her trapped and vulnerable, and without proper medical care.

Irine’s friend, Olga Romanov, told The Daily News that, “Nobody came to us from the city. Nobody came to us from NYCHA.”

Through the combined efforts of de Blasio’s office and volunteers from the Physicians for a National Health Program, Lombardo finally got her oxygen tanks this past Sunday.

It didn’t take long after Hurricane Sandy’s tidal surge pummeled our coastline for the rumor mill to start churning out destruction anecdotes. According to the mill, Kinsgborough Community College was washed away. Its T buildings were in shambles, its iconic lighthouse-crowned MAC building toppled over and parking lots torn asunder.

We’re glad to report that’s not the case, but in the early aftermath, it was hard to say what was going on.

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Photo by Erica Sherman

THE COMMUTE: If you did not attend the Brooklyn Transit Fare Hike Hearing held at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn last Monday because of the nor’easter, you have another chance. Another hearing will be held in Manhattan tomorrow evening from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Registration begins at 4:00 p.m. You also can pre-register on line here.

The Brooklyn hearing should have been rescheduled. Seniors and the disabled should not have been expected to brave the nor’easter, especially without full subway service. The MTA did not care, however. Fewer than 50 people showed up, one of the lowest turnouts ever. “I didn’t hear anyone calling for not having the election,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said. “We have to continue. We have to move forward.”

Last week I complimented Chairman Lhota on how well the MTA handled Hurricane Sandy and how well the agency works in times of crises. They were even considerate enough to provide two days of free fares. Well it looks like the crisis is over as far as the MTA is concerned, because it’s back to business as usual. A typically heartless MTA was unconcerned that residents in Sea Gate and Gerritsen Beach, who had lost their homes, had higher priorities than to brave a nor’easter in order to attend a hearing right now.

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Aside from the destruction of Emmons Avenue’s waterfront bungalows, Hurricane Sandy also left disaster and devastation at Sheepshead Bay’s boating clubs.

The worst hit was the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club (3076 Emmons Avenue), where boats, moorings and marinas all swept in from the ocean approximately 80 feet to the yacht clubs’s back porch, as you can see above.

Keep reading, and view more photos.

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