Ophelia’s OOF on NYC
By Melissa Bunting
This past week, due to the torrential downpours that drowned around the five boroughs from Hurricane Ophelia. Over 8.5 million New Yorkers were scream-singing “Rain, Rain, Go AWAY!”
The concrete jungle is equipped with a lot of non-permeable pavement or any surface that will not allow water to penetrate. Speaking specifically with the subways in mind, which opened in the 1900s, were not thought of to combat the human error of climate change, which follows extreme weather—quoting Janno Lieber, head of the MTA, before Hurricane Ida in 2021: “Our system was built mostly through what you call ‘cut and cover,'” referring to 10ft max underground subways.
The subways around the Big Apple were not designed to deal with the level of doom set to take over from the continuously rising sea levels, which, according to research, is coming in at approximately 1 – 2mm each year, no thanks to the help of what has become the billionaire skid row of skyscrapers. The OGs of skyscrapers include The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, which weigh 1.68 tons.
Pluvial floods happen in any location, urban or rural, and can be broken down into two categories.
Surface Water Floods happen when urban drainage systems take on too much at one time, and water flows out rapidly onto streets and surrounding structures. With no urgency needed, they may cause significant damage in the long term.
On the other hand, Flash Floods come in fast and furious water forces, often leaving chaos and expansive cleanup expenses.
As strong as the city is like the people living in its majesticness, the massive amount of pressure all those skyscrapers, old and new, put on the ground contributes to the sinking, contributing to flooding. On the opposite side of the coin, you have basement apartments that may not come with as many legal renting regulations and don’t meet the requirements for emergencies such as flooding.
On 9.28.23, Mayor Eric Adams made his stance crystal clear on WABC’s Sid & Friends Morning talk show, saying, “I don’t believe the right to shelter applies to a migrant crisis.” Which in return would add to the
already unfortunate circumstances of the unhoused who are left without the types of certain comforts that come with some roof over one’s head and are left to rely on shelters that may or may not have what it takes to stay afloat from flooding.