The Rising Tide That Could Devastate the NYC Subway System
The NYC subway system is a monument to mass transit, engineering, and technological achievements. Yet, it could be largely undone should New York City experience a storm surge only slightly larger than what was experienced during Hurricane Irene.
The City dodged a bullet during Irene, as the subway system didn’t flood. Had it done so, it could have taken weeks to restore the system as large segments are exposed to flooding risks and aren’t capable of dealing with the water that could flood the system.
To deal with the problems, the MTA is looking at how to improve storm protection - whether it’s increasing the height of ventilation grates or putting in flood control systems, but that takes time and money.
The MTA is further looking at how to properly ventilate the subway system, as electronics and people alike are sensitive to heat, and as the climate warms, it gets far hotter underground. All that heat has to go somewhere - and heat failures can bring the subways to a halt.
Ignoring climate change and the risks from storms like Irene put the regional and national economy at grave risk. It’s good to see that some are paying attention.