NEW JERSEY ADOPTS FEMA MAPS

Monday, February 4, 2013 - 2:18pm
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From beach communities in the south to shoreline cities in the north, coastal New Jersey was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.

Take Hoboken, NJ, much of which lies below sea level. After Sandy, half the city was under water. As Ron Hine noted on the Fund for a Better Waterfront web site, "the local hospital had to be evacuated. Cell phone service went out. The power grid was down for nearly a week for most Hoboken residents... The PATH train that transports 28,650 people from Hoboken to New York City [every day] ceased service for 49 days... The impact on people’s lives, on businesses, local government and community institutions was profound."

The new preliminary FEMA flood maps (see story above) place approximately 79% of Hoboken in a flood zone, with Hoboken’s entire coastline falling within FEMA’s “coastal high hazard” zone. "The maps and Hoboken’s experience during Sandy, plus the threats posed by rising sea levels and the increased likelihood of extreme weather events, point to an ominous future for much of Hoboken," writes Mr. Hine, who also warns that the cost of flood insurance could be prohibitive to many.

Governor Christie announced that the State of New Jersey will adopt FEMA's preliminary flood maps as the rebuilding standard for shore towns, though some elected officials are asking that he reconsider his executive orders, since the maps won't be finalized for two years. Meanwhile, the Fund for a Better Waterfront is examining additional maps, consulting with experts and researching the actions of other coastal communities around the world as it advises the City of Hoboken on post-Sandy action.

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