Sep 3, 2021 - Energy & Environment

De Blasio: NYC will increase evacuations and alerts in future storm responses

A car flooded in the middle of the street

A Honda is flooded and cars are abandoned in the middle of the Bronx. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced on Friday that New York City would increase its use of preventive measures like evacuations, alerts and travel bans during future storms.

Details: The city will also work to evacuate people who live in basement apartments, where the majority of deaths in New York occurred after heavy rain and flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida on Wednesday night.

What they're saying: “It’s not like the rain we used to know," de Blasio said.

  • "It’s a different reality, a speed and intensity that we now have to understand will be normal,” de Blasio added.

Of note: The NOAA issued a "high" risk of flash flooding in New York the day before the storm.

  • Gary Szatkowski, a former federal forecaster in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy, told Axios' Andrew Freedman that he was surprised that public officials did not take more preventive steps.
  • "Political leaders — governors, mayors, need to talk less, listen more and make better decisions, that's the solution right now. I’d like to see them do that and do that routinely,” Szatkowski, now retired from government, said.

City and state officials were caught off-guard by the weather, despite the accurate warnings.

“We did not know that between 8:50 and 9:50 p.m. last night, that the heavens would literally open up and bring Niagara Falls level water to the streets of New York,” Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said Thursday.

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