Rainfall Ready NYC action plan released to address climate change

New York Construction Report staff writer

A new Rainfall Ready NYC action plan will prepare city government, businesses and New Yorkers for more extreme rainfall in the future, officials said, releasing the plan in early July, detailing significant investments in infrastructure.

“Climate change is the city’s biggest environmental threat, and while we continue to invest in resiliency and infrastructure projects to protect us for generations to come, the Rainfall Ready NYC action plan will help every New Yorker to protect themselves, their families, and their homes,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “The city is acting now to keep New Yorkers safe as we move into hurricane season, and I encourage every New Yorker to make emergency plans for the next extreme weather event.”

Rising greenhouse gas emissions will continue to accelerate climate change, resulting in more frequent and extreme rainfall events that can produce volumes of stormwater that the city’s infrastructure was never designed to capture, the report states.

Rainfall Ready NYC recommends using new interactive stormwater flood maps to understand the likelihood of flooding in residential areas and make plans, inspect chronic flooding locations to clear debris and expanding a network of street flooding sensors designed to better understand the frequency, severity, and impacts of flooding in New York City.

“As somebody who grew up in South Beach, we know full well that Staten Island has too often seen extreme flooding impact neighborhoods, homes, and lives caused by rainfall during heavy storms,” said Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella.

“Fortunately, there has been much progress over the last 40 years, but we still need to do more. After remnants of Hurricane Ida hit New York City in September, many families who historically have never seen flooding in their communities, were directly impacted. Extreme rainfall has been a dangerous problem for the borough and will continue to be a public safety issue without the proper action.”

Officials from all levels of government are calling climate change one of the biggest threats facing the city – with over 7,500 miles of sewers that are designed to capture rainfall from a five-year storm, a rain event that has a 20 percent chance of occurring in any given year.

“It is crucial that we invest in the appropriate infrastructure and prepare New Yorkers, especially as extreme weather events become more common,” said New York City Council Member James F. Gennaro, chair, Committee on Environmental Protection.

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