From Thursday through till Sunday I worked to help get NYC prepared to shelter thousands of residents. More on that later, but for now all I can say is that I am stunned. For those who know the nature of my work this is what we have been planning and preparing for, and for those who don’t during the past 5 years I have been Project Director for Coastal Storm Plan Training, and we trained over 25,000 City worker for their responsibilities in staffing the network of Evacuation Centers, Hurricane Shelters, and Special Medical Needs Shelters.
The statistics (so much for them now) bear out that the probability of a major coastal storm (around a Cat. 1 or higher) hitting the City of New York in any given year is about 7% or less or once every 52 years. We have had two back to back, this one far worse and a true Cat. 1 storm.
I can only say that I am stunned. For all of the scenario building, simulations, and story-line based training that we have developed at CUNY SPS for NYC OEM, I am still a little overwhelmed at seeing the devastation. I know what it looked like from past hurricane events (1812, 1893, 1938, and even 2011 with Irene [technically a Tropical Storm when it reached NYC]; sorry but Donna was a tropical storm by the time it reached NYC), but it is truly surreal for me seeing how widespread and damaging the flooding has been, and will continue to have an impact on our area. I am well informed on the plans and efforts for clean-up and recovery. That work begins soon.