Planning for the Future After Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy hit the northeastern United States in October 2012 and was the deadliest hurricane of the season, as well as the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history. Such extreme coastal flooding events are expected to become more frequent as a result of climate change-related sea-level rise. A Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force was created to provide consistent, clear, accessible information for decision makers involved in recovery and rebuilding efforts.
As part of this effort, an ad-hoc working group of several Federal entities including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NOAA, USACE, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and USGCRP, in coordination with local institutions in New York City, developed a set of products that illustrate current and future risks of sea-level rise and coastal inundation.
Research and Societally Relevant Outcomes
Two major products are associated with this interagency effort. First, NOAA led the development of a set of map services that integrate the best available FEMA flood hazard data with scenarios of future sea-level rise for 2050 and 2100, allowing communities, residents, and other stakeholders to consider risks from sea-level rise in planning for reconstruction following Hurricane Sandy. Second, in partnership with FEMA and NOAA, USACE modified its existing Sea-Level Change Calculator to integrate FEMA’s best available elevation data with the same sea-level rise scenarios. The USACE calculator complements the NOAA maps by providing site-specific detail on projected flood elevations for five-year intervals from 2010 to 2100. In conjunction with other local data, such information can be used by floodplain managers, professional engineers, and surveyors for developing addition- al safety margins above FEMA’s best available elevation data.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, these products provide information that planners and decision makers need to increase resilience to future extreme events. Coastal communities are likely to see further destructive flooding as a result of sea-level rise, but accounting for climate-change impacts when rebuilding coastal areas can reduce the cost of future disasters and potentially save lives.
The following links provides additional information: