New York City could face as many as 15 days of high-tide flooding in the next year, underscoring the need to prepare for the growing threat, which is linked to rising sea levels. Potentially deadly floods resulting from storm surges are now more likely to happen during a full moon or with a change in currents or prevailing winds, officials at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced in August. Last year the city experienced 13 flood days, the agency said.
Often referred to as “nuisance” or “sunny day” floods, such occurrences will become more common as climate change and other factors cause sea levels to rise, NOAA officials said. In September, remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped more than three inches of rain in New York in one hour, flooding subway stations, submerging basement apartments and killing more than a dozen people.
Outside the five boroughs, NOAA said, several parts of the country broke high-tide flooding records, a trend that is expected to continue if communities do not work to strengthen their flood defenses. With the current rate of sea-level rise, NOAA estimates that New York could see 60 to 85 days of flooding annually by 2050.
Though most drivers don’t plan to be on the road when bad weather strikes, there may be times when it can’t be avoided. According to BR Proud, this is what you should do if your car takes on water:
- If you find yourself approaching a roadway with high water, the best advice is to immediately turn around and avoid the area. But, if your car is already trapped in rapidly moving water, stay inside your vehicle, according to gov. If the water is rising inside your car, get on the vehicle’s roof.
- When it’s relatively safe to do so, leave your car and seek higher ground. Just try to avoid areas with underground or downed powerlines that can electrically charge the water.
- If your car is swept into the water and submerged, try to stay calm and wait for it to fill with water. Once your car is full, you’ll be able to open a door (the water pressure needs to be equalized between the outside and inside of the car for the door to open). Hold your breath and swim to the surface.
- If you’re swept into fast-moving flood water outside your car, point your feet downstream. Try to go over obstacles, like tree branches, never under them.
- If you’re stranded on an object above the floodwater, like a building or tree, stay where you are and wait for rescuers. Do not go into the flood water.
- When help arrives, remain calm and follow the directions of the rescue team.
Sources: Crain’s New York Business, BR Proud