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How bad is it in New York City?

by Migeru Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 02:40:34 AM EST

Seeing some things on my twitter feed: @poemless

For the past several days I have observed noted disconnect between MSM and twitter re: amount, severity of #Sandy damage.
@poemless
Media portray it as inconvenient, people on twitter as harrowing. Why? I doubt anyone not on the East Coast comprehends the situation.
@themexican
Dire message from a fellow parent in my kid's school about the situation in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn: link removed ... Can anyone help?


The dire message says

As I write this my 1st grader, Ethan, has lost his home.  I am willing to bet he is far from the only child at BSI.  Their possessions, lives, trophies and art projects are under dirty sewage water and ruined.  All our stuff is gone, and what is left is unusable.  He asked me to go trick or treating yesterday and I finally broke down and cried.  His costume was of course under water but he still hasn't processed that he can't go home, can never see his room again and won't get to be ninja for Halloween.  Our neighborhood of Sheepshead bay looks like a war zone.  Manhattan and Brighton beach neighborhoods looks like a bomb went off.  Seagate looks like a nuclear explosion.

Yet when you turn on TV you are very unlikely to hear words such as Sheepshead bay and Manhattan beach.  Many of you might be completely unaware of what is happening down here.  We have been ignored, abandoned by the media and the powers that be.  Street intersections have NO police officers regulating traffic.  Drivers are frustrated and dangerous it is very scary to walk around with your child.  Yet in midtown Manhattan there are police officers on every corner even though the traffic lights are working.  Our neighborhoods, whatever is left of them are being looted.  Yet I received an image from the upper east side of dozens upon dozens of national guard trucks being WASHED by the national guard soldiers who could instead be protecting our ravaged neighborhoods.  I have seen 1 news team in 4 days in sheepshead bay, it was from channel 12.

Here comes the ask for help.  I have friends to stay with, clothes for my children and toys.  What I don't have are fema trucks, con edison trucks and national guard.  What I need are patrol officers regulating our very dangerous streets.  If you know powers that be, please please please get in touch. Please someone do something before this situation is worse.  I am including my facebook page at the bottom of this email.  My friends and I have been posting and reposting videos and pictures taken from our ravaged neighborhoods. Please pass this letter along to other bsi parents. I know that there are people at BSI who can help.  Your kids classmates are in real, physical danger if not from the looters then from dangerous unregulated streets.

This lady is using her facebook page to document what's going on at Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. Go check it out.

And the question arises, is there some sort of problem with the disaster response, where lower Manhattan gets taken care of but Brooklyn doesn't? After all Mayor Bloomberg rings opening bell at NYSE as Wall Street reopens after being shut for two days, and After Sandy, NYC Marathon going as planned.

Is this going to be another case where locals will be better informed about what happens at home through international media? Do US media have an interest in presenting an image of quickly restored normality, while international media may report things more evenly? Bloomberg Backs Obama, Citing Fallout From Storm. Bloomberg's Obama endorsement is a vote for big government in time of crisis. Might it backfire before next Tuesday's election, or in the aftermath?

Display:
Example from facebook:

My friend from far rockaway is here. There is NO FOOD in far rockaway. Where is red cross? Its sheer devastation! Where is the national guard? Where are the cops? There are no news vans in far rockaway. WHY NOT?
As to
I received an image from the upper east side of dozens upon dozens of national guard trucks being WASHED by the national guard soldiers who could instead be protecting our ravaged neighborhoods
here's the pic

why are these people not in our neighborhood? we need the help! not the upper east side!!!
U.s. Troops took over quite a few blocks of our neighborhood. Looks a bit weird considering nobody seems in need to be saved on the east-side. But we are safer than ever now!:)


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 02:49:47 AM EST
This is not helping:

The mainstream media is all controlled by large corporations. Don't be blind, they all lie. Fox and CNN are equally as bad.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 02:53:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found that photo in a search for Haiti. It may be Cuba. But same difference, media indifference.

(No, I don't approve of the message).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 03:45:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
My friend from far rockaway is here. There is NO FOOD in far rockaway. Where is red cross? Its sheer devastation! Where is the national guard? Where are the cops? There are no news vans in far rockaway. WHY NOT?

Far Rockaway is in a "mandatory evacuation area". I wonder what "mandatory" means, if so many people (apparently) stayed. But isn't it a bit too much not to leave AND  then to demand to get supplies?

by Katrin on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 03:08:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no idea how the evacuation was organised. "Mandatory evacuation" may just mean "evacuate yourself, you're on your own".

A friend evacuated to New Jersey, but has since returned to find herself homeless, and says that the "red cross shelters are located in REALLY bad areas that we're afraid to go to", especially with the belongings they have salvaged from the wreck.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 03:17:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...
Bloomberg said all residents need to be out by 5 p.m. tomorrow (8/27)--"If you can leave today, that would be helpful...At the moment the strongest winds are expected to arrive in the early evening tomorrow. It is expected to be a category 1 storm. The full brunt of the storm--if you are in its way--is a lot more powerful than any of us."

Technically, not heeding the mandatory evacuation order would be a violation of the law that could get you fined and sent to jail. But Bloomberg assured New Yorkers today that "nobody is going to get fined and nobody is going to go to jail, but if they don't evacuate they could die." You can see where your local evacuation centers are on this map from the city.

The mayor estimates that roughly a quarter million people live in the Zone A area. The shelter capacity for what the city is opening up is about 70,000, which they think should suffice but they say they are prepared to open more if needed. Shelters will be available, but it is also recommended that you go to friends' apartments, stay with relatives, etc. Yellow and livery cabs will move to "zone-fare" plan on Saturday with reduced fares, group rides, and liveries allowed to make street pick-ups (just like the city used in during the transit strike of 2005).

(source)

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 03:20:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My wife found posts noting that, while urging people to evacuate, no provisions were made for the indigent. You still had to pay bus, subway or taxi fare to get out of the dangerous areas and it wasn't like there were well organized, free shelters in quantity in safe areas. I can see that, absent friends or family with whom one can stay and with very little money and no car, one might decide to take the risk of sheltering in place. A lot of people did not get the fact that this was a Category 1 hurricane embedded in a massive 'nor'easter' - which is what led meterologists at The Weather Channel to dub it 'Superstorm Sandy'. The combination was worse than either component alone and it is possible that the result was greater than the sum of the parts.

It is starting to look like this may become a point of comparison to Katrina, with the proviso that the effects are scattered along shorelines around southern New York and New Jersey and that the number of people affected is an order of magnitude larger here. Staten Island is one 'forgotten borough' that is starting to receive attention and, with this evening's cancellation of the New York Marathon we may be starting to see a recalibration of the sense of the scope of the disaster by the city and state of New York.

I am reminded of the joke maps of the USA as seen by New Yorkers, where New York is larger than the rest of the entire country. I suspect that the Island of Manhattan is seen by officials as much larger than the rest of New York combined. And Bloomberg is a Republican businessman first and foremost, even if he is socially liberal and generally sane. It is difficult for him to get his head around anything being more important than getting Wall Street open and the infrastructure that supports Manhattan restored. Not that I deny the importance of that. The potential for catastrophe in an area as small and as densely populated as Manhattan is immense. But there has been a question of balance in the official response, more so from the mayor than anywhere else. Money talks and Bloomberg has his own network.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 08:59:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrina, BP, Fukushima, Sandy. Emergency standards for the 21st century are set.
by das monde on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 06:15:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
@RepublicanTips
Everyone in the path of the hurricane should head to their second or third home to safety #Sandy #RomneyStormTips
Now why does it have to be so difficult to do public policy that does not look like it's based on such 'tips'?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 07:33:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Mandatory evacuation" may just mean "evacuate yourself, you're on your own".

Exactly what it means.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 11:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"evacuate yourself, you're on your own".

Extreme fear will do that, but it's probably not what was meant.

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:31:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if there is no resource provision by the authority that issues the 'mandatory evacuation' notice, the notice is little more than "evacuate yourself'.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:34:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like "deport yourself".
by IM on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:45:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a parallel subthread:
Technically, not heeding the mandatory evacuation order would be a violation of the law that could get you fined and sent to jail. But Bloomberg assured New Yorkers today that "nobody is going to get fined and nobody is going to go to jail, but if they don't evacuate they could die." You can see where your local evacuation centers are on this map from the city.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:50:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there are good reasons to enforce evacuation with force. But of course then we have to set the camps for your internal deported.

Bring your own internment camp is sa bit unfair.

by IM on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:58:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The mayor estimates that roughly a quarter million people live in the Zone A area. The shelter capacity for what the city is opening up is about 70,000, which they think should suffice but they say they are prepared to open more if needed.

70,000 can be interned, the other 180,000 can evacuate to their second or third home...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 05:42:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rockaway, Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island are all very low-lying and were certain to be flooded. I don't mean to belittle the distress people feel at the devastation of their family homes, but no one should be in those areas expecting food and news vans.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 03:28:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the problem is that people don't have the education or the conceptual tools to be able to make sense of what's happening.

For most of your life stuff just works. Then one day it doesn't any more - because of bad weather.

If you have a scientific education you can plan ahead and make sensible predictions about physical reality during unusual conditions.

If you don't, you can't, and you'll default to 'business as usual until I see otherwise.'

When you do see otherwise it's too late, and you may already be dead or in serious danger.

It's a public education issue. And we know how popular high quality public education is in the US.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 08:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Edited to add it's obviously a public resources issue too, and a 'fuck the poor and I hope they die' issue in the US.

But we already know that from Katrina, so it shouldn't be a surprise.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 08:05:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For most of your life stuff just works.

I've been thinking of a diary. It's about how Arthur C. Clarke's quip that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic is not just applicable to alien or cross-cultural encounters, but to our own life in our own culture. The incredibly fast technological progress we're living, and the incredibly advanced state of the technology itself (yeah, yeah, I know, but think of what technology was like "within living memory") might actually be fostering magical thinking rather than scientific thinking. The de'funding of universal public education by right-wing ideologues may also play a role.

Example: in Richard Feynman's biographies he talks about how growing up in Far Rockaway in the 20s and 30s he and his friends played with chemistry sets and took apart and repaired radios. Back then you could learn physics and electronics from taking apart the vacuum tubes and circuits of a radio. Today, a radio is a microchip. Magic. And maybe fewer future physicsts (according to Feynman, those who played with radios as opposed to chemistry sets tended to end up in physics and engineering).

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 08:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What passes for counter argument these days is "oh, but some day you'll be able to write ipad applications entirely on an ipad, so you don't need the lower levels".

Yeah. Because the lower levels are always there and magically work.

(There's probably a couple of essays worth on reductionism as well.)


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 08:27:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Emotionally it's a big hit to the ego too. Most people - not just Americans - think they have a right to be treated "well" by the planet.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 08:55:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One problem is that they shut down the subways a day ahead of the storm. How were people to leave? We're talking about parts of the city where people don't have cars?
by Upstate NY on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 10:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can only hope that New York finds an answer to that before the next storm is there. My city only learned that after one storm cost 315 lives.
by Katrin on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 11:28:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Haiti: 70% of crops in the southern half of the country destroyed. While the (world) media were freaking out about Manhattan.

This isn't just about the US media moving on and ignoring distress in their own country while the-election-must-go-on, it's about the overall priorities set by the media in general, where the big drama is downtown Manhattan -- with, beneath it, varying degrees of people importance (South Brooklyn dwellers matter how much?). Tent-dwellers in Haiti are right down at the bottom of the list.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 03:21:56 AM EST
A large part of the French media (and other countries media I'd bet) in the United States is based in NYC. An even larger part of TV stations special envoys were sent to NYC and specifically to Manhattan, not Hicksville, central Pennsylvania. So yes, of course, Manhattan was over reported from several hours, if not days, before, during and after the storm arrival. Haiti is just off the radar screen.
by Bernard on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:26:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forget about Hicksville, Pennsylvania. Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, and we're not hearing much about that either.

Aerial View of Sandy's Wreckage Along World-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk

In New Jersey, superstorm Sandy destroyed several blocks of Atlantic City's world-famous boardwalk and wrecked several other boardwalks up and down the coast. A Seaside Heights roller coaster was left partially submerged in the ocean.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:44:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not part of the distributed mega-city though.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:20:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sandy wreaked havoc in Staten Island, a ferry's ride away from Manhattan ... but not a ferry that Micheal Bloomberg's crowd takes very often.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:25:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Listening to France Inter, it was their Washington DC correspondent who, from DC, was reporting... on New York.

Priorities, priorities...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it just me, but weren't the preparations in New York clumsy? Why the fuck did they find out the hard way that generators in hospitals weren't in working order? Didn't they try them out beforehand? They had a week for preparations. The National Guard was lauded for their heroic efforts in carrying helpless patients out of hospitals. I find that heroism is to be avoided at all costs: evacuate early enough. Does New York ever practise how to evacuate hospitals?  

New York is a port city, there must be areas that are flooded every year while others are only flooded in really bad storms. Are precautions against floodings a subject of public debate or are people just disinterested?

Somehow the reactions after Sandy seem to be surprise at what a storm can do.

by Katrin on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 04:11:40 AM EST
They call it a learning experience: Cuomo Says NY Must Learn to Adapt to Extreme Weather (30 October 2012)
"Going forward we are going to have to anticipate these types of extreme weather patterns," Cuomo said at a news conference earlier today. "And we have to think about how we redesign the system so that this doesn't happen again."

And on Albany's Talk 1300 AM radio show, he said this: "The construction of the city did not anticipate these kinds of situations ... We are only a few feet above sea level. You now have a whole infrastructure under the city that fills. The subway system, the foundations of buildings."



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 05:29:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe calling it New Amsterdam was a better plan. Time to build some serious dikes.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 05:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ask far as I know, the generators were fine. Some of the ancillary services they required to keep going for a long period weren't - the fuel pump was in a basement or something. Testing was never going to find that flaw in the system design.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 05:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That wasn't the only hospital without power. This sounds surprised. Apparently New York doesn't practise this much. Big government mustn't waste too much money on preventing damage, I guess.

By the way, why did they allow the subway to drown? Did they even try to defend it or did they run out of sandbags?

by Katrin on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:29:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect it's too porous to defend. In fact, a moment's thought makes it clear that it is. Think of all the vents a subway system has?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:33:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how it is done, but Hamburg's subway system last drowned in 1962. We have had much higher floods since then. The trauma of 1962 is still fresh enough to spend money on protection from floods. I suspect New York does not spend enough money on this.
by Katrin on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:12:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't doubt that. But I don't think sandbags would help. A substantial redesign of the support system  would probably be needed.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All of those vents would have to be elevated by about six or seven meters and similar walls with closeable, lock like gates would have to be built around low lying subway entrances - for starters. A plan for protecting the Holland Tunnel would likely be very interesting. And it would have been easier for the Pharaohs with their ideology to do this than it will be for present day US politicians and the 'mainstream' economists on which they rely. I saw a professor of engineering showing a model of a set of sea gates that could have prevented the storm surge from reaching the city. Everyone immediately dismissed this as unaffordable. The very concept of 'self liquidating investments' is alien to today's lot. Good thing we already have the interstate highway system. Never thought I would become nostalgic for Eisenhower.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 09:14:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Everyone immediately dismissed this as unaffordable.

socialist! pull up your mittstraps and get a helicopter!

no more nice things for the plebs, lazy sods that they are, money is needed to placate the market, or bribing banksters to keep the atm's running.

TINA, that subway needed a good wash.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 05:42:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No no no,

it's unafordable because  then you dont get to pay large busines X to clean up afterwards, and then build the prevention measures.

just building the prevention measures would only get them paid once.

and if we can hold up till several storms have hit, then lots of paydays all round.

some people just don't understand capitalism ;)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:52:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would mean spending, which is very bad, by definition.

I think we need a whole new set of soundbite memes. I'm going to start with 'spendthrift government' - the idea that tightwad non-spending is anything other than miserly, retentive and irredeemably stupid.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think spending is a problem is NY state or New York city. I'm willing to bet we spend an enormous amount here. But we're also talking about a city totally surrounded on all sides by water. It is an island.
by Upstate NY on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 11:06:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paris subway has a complete plan to defend against future floods of the Seine river: includes the preventive walling off (as in: brick & mortar) of several entrances and vents, based on elevation. During the great flood of 1910, half of the existing lines were reportedly flooded.
by Bernard on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 08:08:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ABC: Hurricane Sandy: Hundreds of Flights Canceled, Mass Transit Systems Shutting Down Ahead of Storm

Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers cover an entrance to the Canal Street A, C, and E station with plywood to help prevent flooding, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in N.Y.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:33:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With plywood???!!!
by Bernard on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 08:10:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think that wall might be inadequate to a meter or two of water?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 09:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, plywood, if thick enough, makes some sense: the flood surge is not just water. It's water carrying everything that wasn't properly tied down.
by Katrin on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 01:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. 3/4" plywood is quite strong. The frame itself is reasonably strong with the 2x4s and may hold if they expect only a couple of feet of water. They look to be installing a 4' high barrier and my first take was that the ply would be installed with the 8' dimension vertical. But even a three foot height of water might put such pressure on the assembly that it would just fall into the stairwell. If they came back and braced one side to the other across the stairwell with diagonal 2x4s or 4x4s it would be much stronger. But they need vertical 4x4s and at 4' intervals and attach the ply with liquid nail and screws for a strong assembly. This would increase the overall assembly strength. A lot depends on the height of the water against which you are protecting.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 04:49:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was clear that the height of the water would be enormous, wasn't it? I was thinking of preventing drifting objects to smash things, not of the water itself.
by Katrin on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 05:21:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 
It was clear that the height of the water would be enormous, wasn't it?

There were Weather Channel meterologists standing in the park at The Battery in lower Manhattan as the storm approached noting that the water would be over their waists or higher at its peak, a meter or more. What I don't know is the relation between the elevation of that shooting location and that of the low lying subway entrances and vents on the one hand and the entrances of the various tunnels on the other hand.

From Joe Nocerno in the NYT:

Lower Manhattan, completely unprotected, was overwhelmed by Sandy's 14-foot storm surge. The Rockaways and Staten Island were hit even harder.

Depending on how he uses 'storm surge' 6-8 feet would have to be added for wave action.

And then there is this:

And this: (same source.)

The image is composite and won't properly copy. The scale on the lower left shows areas that would be flooded with: 3', 6', 9' & 12' of increased water level.

"The lowest subway entrance is at the 6- or 7-foot surge level. Studies have suggested that if the surge reaches 8 to 10 feet, a number of East River tunnels would be fully flooded."

So we are approaching the 7 meter mark of what would be produced by the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, but to protect against those increased levels during storms a wall of at least 14 meters would seem in order. I note that this is well within what is commonly provided for dry docks. And ninnies are whimpering that we can't afford to build the equivalent of a couple of dozen dry docks?! How did we ever fight WW II? (Hint- Wall Street's power was, at the time, severely constrained.)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 08:59:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The real problem is that properly protecting New York infrastructure would give the lie to much of the economic mythology that has been so assiduously spread over the population via the media for the last forty years. Talk about 'hoist on your own petard'!

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 09:02:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There were sandbags on the other side of the plywood. I saw this at many entrances.
by Upstate NY on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 11:07:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, now we're getting some place. Coupled with 4x4 and proper attachment, it should work; for a while at least. I guess we can compare with the brick & mortar plans (or rather cinder blocks & mortar) for the Parisian subway and put it down to the construction techniques differences between both sides of the pond...
by Bernard on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:24:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, hospital evacuations are inherently dangerous, so you may need to be pretty sure that you're going to need to evacuate before you do it. Or you may be afraid of the lawsuits if you evacuate unnecessarily. Who knows?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Evacuating bed-ridden patients, those with infectious diseases, or the intensive care unit must be fun.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:36:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It'd be more fun when the lifts are working, of course. Nonetheless, you're going to kill people either way.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They not only practice evacuations, they evacuated hospitals for Irene.

But they put the utilities and subway underground so that it would keep working even under severe weather conditions ~ gale force winds, severe blizzards. This kind of hurricane storm surge flooding just wasn't in their experience when they did that.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:29:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Part of the problem is that problems such as having fuel and pumps for generators located in basements when the generators are intended to protect against flood related power loss would only be found as a result of a forthcoming system safety review. Absent an intent to upgrade such a review is highly unlikely to be commissioned, and if such a flaw is noticed by a critic that critic will be ignored and/or dismissed and/or denigrated. When I was advocating for earthquake safety in Los Angeles public schools via the Parent-Teacher Association I complained that it was like the legislature didn't officially want to know of the risks. I later was told by a regional PTA responsible for legislative liaison that a legislative staffer told them 'they don't officially want to know'. At least I had some confirmation that my message had gotten through.  


As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 11:51:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is an interesting article about the lack in awareness and preparedness of hospitals.

Insight: Sandy shows hospitals unprepared when disaster hits home | Reuters

For most hospitals, "emergency preparedness" means being ready to treat a surge of patients from an earthquake or terror attack - disasters outside their walls. Even the federal program that coordinates hospitals' preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services has this mindset: it focuses on planning for mass fatalities and quickly reporting their number of available beds, not having redundant electrical systems.
by Katrin on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 04:25:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
New York is a port city, there must be areas that are flooded every year while others are only flooded in really bad storms.

Just so we don't go eurocentric on them, it should (don't know the specifics of New York) on average be less storms and flooding in New York then it is in cities on the European Atlantic coast. The dominant wind direction on the planet is from west to the east, so west coasts get hit by more floods and east coasts more on what the winds carry from the inland (like dust in China).

But yes, the preparations don't look to good.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:08:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the other hand, hurricanes move East to west along the tropic, then veer northwards to temperate latitudes and then eastwards, assuming they don't make landfall first and dissipate. Also, the start of the typical trajectory moves from West in the Gulf of Mexico to the African coast as the hurricane season progresses. So it's not unusual or unexpected for at least one tropical storm to graze the east coast of the US, even all the way to Canada, in a hurricane season. See the list of New England hurricanes, which includes 20 storms including Sandy's storm surge since 2005 - 2.5 per year - and 4 landfalls since 2000 (not including Sandy which made landfall in New Jersey).

While Europe may get more flooding from regular cloud fronts, tropical storms reaching Europe are relatively rare and happen only at the very end of the hurricane season (only one a year according to this).

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:20:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And getting the storm following a hurricane grazing the east coast on its way back northeast, or severe storms northward along the coast following the hurricane after it made landfall in North Carolina,  is something that New York is well prepared for.

AFAIU this is a tropical storm that almost fell apart after it passed the Bahamas ... then reconstituted, and hit a high pressure cell over the Atlantic (not sure in which order).

Maybe the reverse S path is another one of those "once in several lifetime" events that we keep having, and are going to have to get used to ~ warmer oceans mean that hurricanes get more force further north in late October than they used to do.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:36:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Warmer oceans definitely increase the chances of a storm recostituting after passing islands.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:39:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of an interesting story about cultural differences between EU and the US: back in the 90s, an American colleague of mine relocated for two years at his company's EU location in Germany.

There, the major source of disagreement between the German and the American engineers was how to address technical issues. The US engineers said: "Let's fix it and move on", whereas the German engineers said: "No, we need to find the root cause and correct it for good to prevent it from causing any more problems". It was to my colleague, one of the major cultural differences he encountered between the two continents.

I have to say that I have often seen that attitude during my years over in California: let's not spend too much time anticipating problems, we'll fix them when we face them. Hence the culture of the engineering hero who saves the day by fixing the last minute bug.

So yes, I'm not too much surprised by the relative lack of preparedness and the attendant need for heroism: these are public agencies after all, and therefore they constantly have to prove their usefulness, especially in the present US political context. You don't get any high marks just because everything went smoothly because you did spend taxpayers money anticipating problems.

by Bernard on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Germans must have changed. When it came to the Y2K bug, the Americans fixed it. The Germans did a hack to interpet years xx00-xx09 as being in the 21st century, with the result that maybe as many as half their credit cards stopped working on 1.1.2010.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:56:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I couldn't find the exact reason with those cards, but there have been a range of 2010 problems, including hexadecimal vs. decimal. Apparently, the company responsible for the German credit/debit cards bug was chip-maker Gemalto, which is headquartered in Amsterdam but several news sources call it French due to the main shareholder.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 04:18:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is an op-ed by Taras Grescoe in The Guardian, titled The Sandy subway disaster creates a historic opportunity for New York, which discusses Sandy from the viewpoint of the state of public transport in the city. It's worth to read in full (too much good stuff to pick four paragraphs to quote), I have nothing to add to it, so here are some paraphrased points:
  • The New York subway was built in the first place in response to a storm, one in 1888 that showed up the vulnerability of elevated railways.
  • While Shanghai built a metro network eclipsing New York's in 17 years, there is minimal new construction in NYC (the Second Avenue line started as a project to replace an elevated railway closed in 1942), with the last expansion programme shelved in the early seventies; and the maintenance and modernisation of existing lines with their antiquated technology is lacking.
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the one now applauded for being bipartisan with Obama (or suspected of wanting to damage is inner-party rival Romney), was also the governor who buried the last significant project, for two extra train tunnels under the Hudson River, which would have been storm surge-resistant.
  • What is needed is serious public investment, like there was after 1888, and which was an eminent success.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 04:57:37 PM EST
Overall, the MTA doesn't seem to be on the cutting edge: the second ave. line is the most expensive subway in the world and it's not because it's being built in Manhattan, they've just recently introduced countdown clocks on some lines.

Moreover, the New York assembly does everything to steal money from them or refuse to provide a steady revenue stream. (see this blog named after the second ave. project.)

An interesting article: A Dutch Solution for New York's Storm Surge Woes?

We have nothing like this in the United States now and are unlikely to for the foreseeable future. Responsibility for flood protection is spread out among local, state and federal governments. Standards and protections vary wildly, mile-by-mile, and are vastly weaker than in the Netherlands. Which is understandable, because historically floods have not posed an existential threat to places like New York City.
It mentions a prescient New York Times article from last month that described how NYC was only moderately prepared for a storm.

In my estimation not enough people have died to make this a real wake up call. Then again, enough people died in New Orleans but who cares about that place...

by epochepoque on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:16:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i wonder if they'll be able to take care of so many people without homes, power, food, gas, clean water. right now people are in shock and coping somehow, i worry about a week from now.

the supply lines leading to... what? empty streets or hungry, cold people on foot heading for red cross shelters.

terrible juxtapositions still to come, desperate 'little people' segue-ing into star-spangled jubilation and expensive hoopla.

a zeitgeist snapshot.

emotional whiplash! behold the wonders of cause and effect, surreal in, crazy out.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 06:47:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. The ultrawealthy are at least inconvenienced, or

  2. One of these storms blows in every week, hopefully hitting the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia areas.

I think 2 is more likely than 1.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 11:20:34 AM EST
More weather is on the way to the US northeast:

...early-season Nor'easter is expected to impact the mid-Atlantic and New England with strong winds and heavy rain. Our two top models, the European (ECMWF) and GFS (run by the National Weather Service), both predict that an area of low pressure will move off the coast of South Carolina on Tuesday evening. Once over the warm waters off the coast, the low will intensify, spreading heavy rains over coastal North Carolina on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The storm will accelerate to the north-northeast on Wednesday and pull in cold air from Canada. The storm is predicted to intensify into a medium-strength Nor'easter with a central pressure of 992 mb by Wednesday afternoon, when it will be centered a few hundred miles south of Long Island, NY.

The storm is still five days away, and five-day forecasts of the path and intensity of Nor'easters usually have large errors. Nevertheless, residents and relief workers in the region hit by Sandy should anticipate the possibility of the arrival on Wednesday of a moderate-strength Nor'easter with heavy rain, accompanied by high winds capable of driving a 1 - 2 foot storm surge with battering waves.



Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 11:26:56 AM EST
We can only wonder how many such storms in a row it would have taken to put global warming into the campaign debate.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 11:54:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Three, with the last one having arrived at least two weeks prior to election day is my guess.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 11:55:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Move along, nothing to see here.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 11:39:38 AM EST


The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 11:53:10 AM EST


The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Nov 3rd, 2012 at 12:47:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NY Mag: Bloomberg Tours Far Rockaway, Hears From Angry Citizens (4 November 2012)
Mayor Bloomberg took an unscheduled walk around the Rockaway Beach section of Queens on Saturday morning, surveying the damage done by Hurricane Sandy and checking in with local residents. The official clip of the tour produced by the mayor's office shows some destruction and piles of debris, but also includes what appear to be cordial interactions with those affected. Left out of that video, though, is an emotional exchange between Bloomberg and two very upset hurricane victims.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 05:54:20 AM EST
NY Times: Reeling From the Storm and Facing a New Danger: the Cold (November 4, 2012)
With many residents left homeless after the devastation from last week's storm, New York-area officials began focusing on Sunday on another weather-related factor that might make the problems even worse: colder weather that is moving into the region.

In New York, 30,000 to 40,000 people, many of them residents of public housing, will have to find homes, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a news conference with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday. Mr. Bloomberg compared it to the situation after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

...

Temperatures throughout the region fell early Sunday into the 30s, and the National Weather Service issued a freeze watch for parts of New Jersey, including the coast, where many residents remained without heat. Officials have urged them to head to shelters.

Seems to me that September weather on the Gulf of Mexico is going to be more survivable than November weather in New England...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 02:51:35 PM EST


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