Southern Brooklyn

Batten Down The Hatches Now, Or Suffer The Great Flood Of 2080


Unless radical “hover home” technology gets developed in the latter part of the 21st century, the New York Times has a warning for you: the thousands of coastal communities dotting the edges of New York City are going to be washed away by the expanding catastrophic flood zones brought upon by the predicted continued erosion of the polar ice caps.

While Mayor Bloomberg has commissioned extensive research studies on the effects of climate change, and what it means for the city, critics have pointed to the crippling chaos Hurricane Irene unleashed on the city’s infrastructure last year as a sign that long-term plans to protect the city are moving too slowly.

In the future, if a storm like Irene, where 370,000 residents living in the catastrophic flood zones were ordered to evacuate, were to strike again, the danger would extend far beyond that of getting people to safety. The chemical manufacturing plants, garbage transfer stations, and oil storage sites all lining the edges of Western and Southern Brooklyn, and other parts of the city, would be exposed to destruction, potentially causing an environmental disaster not yet seen in the city’s history.

New flood map projections published by the New York Times show that, here in Southern Brooklyn, accelerated melting of polar ice puts all of Sheepshead Bay in a flood zone by 2020, and that stretches past Marine Park and into Midwood by 2080. By that time, major transportation infrastructure will also be at risk of being under water, including just about all of the Belt Parkway and John F. Kennedy airport.

(Readers captured several videos of flooding from Hurricane Irene.)
(And more videos from Hurricane Irene.)
(Recent storms have already lead to flooding in our area.)
(Erosion and flooding at Plumb Beach have already put the Belt Parkway at risk.)
(How to protect yourself from flooding.)

Even if drastic action is taken now, the effort needed to protect New York from Mother Nature’s destructive power is an incredibly complicated undertaking, and a very costly one. Because the cost is so great, city planners are under a high-pressured game to calculate the risk versus cost. New York’s main plan of dealing with this complex future crisis is by slowly rolling out changes and safeguards in hopes that the requisite infrastructure will be in place when the next level of action is needed. More than $2 billion will be spent in this effort over the next 18 years.

The city was spared last year when Irene fizzled into a tropical storm by the time it hit the city, but as global climate change becomes more a reality, its possible a huge storm could smash the city’s meager defenses long before any major changes have been put in place. If that’s the case, many New Yorkers sailing through the financial district on make shift rafts are going to be wondering why the city’s planners weren’t more urgent when they had the chance to prevent a massive disaster.


Comment policy


  1. My opinion is that the whole area in Sheephead Bay needs a new storm drain system.
    They can not take all the rain and heavy rain we have been getting.

  2. The City isn’t credible on any of this. The Belt at Plumb  Beach is one noreaster away from turning the entirety of southern Brooklyn’s avenues into a huge east/west detour. Instead of dealing with a clear immediate danger the city and DOT  invariably worry about the big awful problem way into the future that simply may never materialize. Plastic sandbags are washing away with every outgoing tide. Do something about that immediate danger before you try to scare the poop out everyone.Also, the various state, city and federal govenment waste time, energy and manpower doing…something? with White/Mau Mau Island some 150 yards north of the real problem. They do so for reasons known only to themselves. Perhaps somebody they know and like got some groovy govenment contracts to dig up a perfectly fine nature path that and an island that wasn’t bothering anyone.   

    As to major storms, Irene was about as bad as it gets. As with Gloria in 1986 and Belle in the mid-1970s, the cool Hudson Canyon water in the new York Bight will always waeken hurricanes getting close. It’s not merely luck, it’s how it always happens. Hog Island’s destruction is a long time ago.

    Would also note that the end of Rockaway at the west end is actually gaining land from sands washed down the beach from eastern Long Island along the ocean and dredging project backwash along the bay. If you’re going top post something about the changing geography in our area, perhaps you should actually use your eyeballs instead of taking some grant-hungry government bureaucrat at face value.

  3. The MTA must remember to remove all Brighton Beach train station signage well ahead of this cataclysmic event, for reinstallation at Kings Highway.

  4. The original source is data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

     Meanwhile, notice the title of your reference: “Antarctic ice streams may trigger major melting”  You call that impartial news? “MAY TRIGGER”?????  Which one is op-ed? 

       Is it news when every single article,  called “fact-checking” agrees with Obama, and is it “op-ed” when there’s one item favorable to Romney?

  5. The Forbes piece is op-ed because it is of dubious scientific merit. Like as not most climate scientists are in basic agreement that the phenomenon defined as global warming exists.

    The word “may” is quite proper here. Other factors, temporary in nature, may affect the outcome.

     “Fact checking” is what Obama and his spokespeople do before using data. Sothe fact checkers usually have no issue with it.

  6. Yes. Obama does “fact-checking” so gets everything exactly right. Why bother having an election? Why bother with “president”? Under this logic, let’s make him king. I mean all his “facts” check out, why bother with democracy, govt, etc. We can’t improve on fact-checking, after all.

       I put the phrase “fact-checking”  right up there with “no-brainer” and “you just don’t get it”. It’s just another phrase designed to tell me “don’t bother continuing to argue, you’re wrong”.


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