Update Flood Maps

Update FEMA flood maps for New York City and New Jersey to more accurately reflect current land use conditions and incorporate sea level rise projections.

Comments

I am so glad that you gave

I am so glad that you gave time to update the map so they will be able to know it immediately. - Marla Ahlgrimm

Update Flood Maps

People did not really know what the actual effect of a 11-13 foot storm surge was in terms of feet of water in their home or office/store./etc. It seem this can be calculated and made known to the public, now especially with Sandy as a real world yardstick. I people had had this data (ie: at 8 pm your store or house will have 6 feet of water in it) people could have prepared better, moved valuables & merchandise upstairs or totally away, etc. I know of once case where employees moved computers to desktop level thinking that was certainly high enough - but were off by three feet.

We have Zones A B & C now. Were they accurate? Can we now predict exactly how much water will be at a particular address based on a certain level of predicted surge? Should zone be more granular - or some how indicate actual depths in feet based on surge levels predicted?

Is anyone capturing actual flood levels at various places? I saw that at 16 Fulton Street (South Street Seaport Museum) it was about 6' based on looking at the water mark on the windows. But by now the windows may have been washed and that data lost. We need to get data quickly before memories fade and physical evidence is lost.

It should be possible to develop an cell phone app that can tell you exactly what water level to expect at a certain time at any given location, combining NOAA and other predictions, location based on GPS (or by typing in an address if no GPS available), barometric pressure, tide level, wind and other factors. That level may be different in various addresses within a zone. Further this should be updated in real time as surges may be more or less than predicted.(Disclosure - Ed Bacon suggested that one).

Cell phone app mentioned by John Doswell

I agree with John's points above. On the one hand, fairly accurate Sandy storm surge predictions by NOAA were broadcast repeatedly to the public. On the other hand, the public did not know what a 7 - 10' surge meant to their particular location. If that correlation had been made available, it could have saved lives, minimized losses, improved evacuations and eased post-storm responses. What percentage of the estimated $19 billion cost of Sandy to NYC could have been avoided?.
I should have a first draft top-down analysis and design prototype of a possible mobile solution completed in December. I need more precise elevation data than Google Earth, Oasis, NYC's geo-system, etc provide. If anyone knows of precise laser-based or differential GPS measurements for NYC, please contact me.
Valuable Sandy information such as a location's time of initial flooding, time of maximum water level and time of water receding below the initial flood level would be invaluable in lessening the impact of future storm surges.
I'd like to crowd-source the design through MWA initially.

contact

ed bacon - email me and let's chat sometime. We are proposing similar things and also have the models to do it better than NOAA (though the app should show all available models).

We also have access to serious funding opportunities that could help.
Philip.Orton@stevens.edu

Floods mapping

FEMA is just about to circulate their revised flood maps for the Metro area but, the maps may not be very helpful since the storm surge from Sandy was about three feet above their the new flood elevation. It is estimated that rather than a 100 year storm Sandy exceeded the predicted elevation for a 500 year storm. The Battery sidewalk is at approximately 8 feet. The current storm surge elevation is slightly above 11 ft. Sandy had a storm surge elevation of almost 13.7 feet at the site according to NOAA. And, that storm surge elevation does not include the wave heights that swept ashore.

Clearly a compehensive and on-going education program regarding storms and flooding are needed throughout the region.

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