New FEMA Flood Maps for NYC Include WTC Site

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013  |  Updated 11:38 AM EDT
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It will take some people years to recover from the damage that Sandy did to their homes and businesses. In part, it is because some of them were not in flood zones when the storm hit, but FEMA wants to make sure that doesn't happen again. Brynn Gingras has more on the proposed changes that will add thousands more New York City buildings in those areas.

NBC 4 New York

It will take some people years to recover from the damage that Sandy did to their homes and businesses. In part, it is because some of them were not in flood zones when the storm hit, but FEMA wants to make sure that doesn't happen again. Brynn Gingras has more on the proposed changes that will add thousands more New York City buildings in those areas.

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released new advisory maps for Manhattan that include the World Trade Center site in the zone seen as most at risk for flooding during a powerful coastal storm.

The maps released this week were in the works even before Sandy hit the city in October, but they reflect some of the lessons learned during the disaster.

Flooding wasn't extensive in Manhattan during the storm, but it caused some spectacular damage where it did occur, inundating subway stations and tunnels, crippling critical electrical infrastructure and destroying the mechanical equipment in waterfront skyscrapers.

The storm also sent water from the Hudson River pouring into the unfinished World Trade Center site — a factor that led FEMA to include the area around the complex in the zone considered likely to flood at least once a century.

A number of blocks were also added in the East Village and Chelsea and in Red Hook and Greenpoint, both of which saw worse-than-expected flooding during Sandy.

The maps are preliminary, but FEMA officials said they will be useful in rebuilding and fortifying flooded areas. Official versions of the maps will be rolled out this spring and finalized over the next year or two. Those maps will be used to set premium rates for flood insurance and play a role in building codes and other regulations.

FEMA had previously released revised maps for harder-hit areas of the city, including the Rockaway seashore, Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn along Jamaica Bay.

Those maps underwent far more dramatic revisions than the ones unveiled for Manhattan, adding thousands of buildings and many square miles of land previously thought to be unlikely to flood.

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