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New York flooded as city’s infrastructure struggles to cope with changing climate | US News


New York City wasn’t built for this.

The drainage system underneath its iconic streets can’t cope with more than two inches of rain per hour.

In Friday’s deluge, the skies delivered that amount – and more.

Workers trying to clear in Brooklyn. Pic: AP
Image:
Workers trying to clear streets in Brooklyn. Pic: AP

The intensity of the downpour brought quantities of water that backed up into city streets, streamed into subway stops and poured into basements across the city’s five boroughs.

It was only in 2021 that New York witnessed similar scenes, inflicted by Hurricane Ida.

The FDR highway under the Williamsburg Bridge in New York was closed after heavy rain flooded roads
Image:
The FDR highway was closed after heavy rains flooded roads

This was a repeat, two years on – a climate change alarm, on snooze.

As relieved as New Yorkers will be at the passing of the deluge, they can only worry about next time.

A school bus drives through heavy flooding in the New York City suburb of Larchmont
Image:
A school bus drives through heavy flooding in the New York City suburb of Larchmont


Like everywhere else, the weather event hasn’t been factored into infrastructure design as the city grew.

Consider the number of people living beneath street level.

A basement in a house in Scarsdale, New York goes under water after torrential rains. Pic: STRF/STAR
Image:
A basement in a house in Scarsdale, New York goes under water after torrential rains. Pic: STRF/STAR

If there’s a ground-zero for the basement dweller, New York is probably it.

Tens of thousands of residents make their home on the lowest floor, in a place where a population is shoehorned into every available space.

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In this photo taken from video, traffic makes its way through flood waters along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway , Friday, Sept. 29, 2023
Image:
In this photo taken from video, traffic makes its way through flood waters along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway , Friday, Sept. 29, 2023

It makes sense and it makes money, even if it doesn’t make for good planning in the climate change era.

We saw but one example in pictures of basements flooded by water with nowhere else to go.

Heavy rain causes flooding in New York region
Image:
Heavy rain causes flooding in New York region

Heavy rain causes flooding in New York region
Image:
Heavy rain causes flooding in New York region

It is New York’s uneasy accommodation with Mother Nature.

The city was built for weather as we knew it, not as we know it now.

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