FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2017 – As New York City marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the New York City Emergency Management Department in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Friends of Pier 35 will unveil a new high water mark sign at Pier 35 in Manhattan to promote public awareness about the dangers of coastal storms.
The high water mark sign highlights that Hurricane Sandy brought a storm surge of five feet to the pier. The High Water Mark Initiative is a community-based awareness program that increases local communities’ awareness of flood risk. As part of the project, communities post high water mark signs in prominent places and conduct ongoing education and mitigation actions to build community resilience against future flooding.
“This sign is here to remind everyone about the life-threatening storm surge we experienced when Hurricane Sandy hit and to urge New Yorkers to stay prepared should another storm hit,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “Make sure you know whether you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, and make a plan with your family that includes having supplies and staying informed and connected.”
“Five years after Superstorm Sandy swept our City, today’s high water mark sign unveiling sends a strong message that we will not forget,” said Council Member Chin. “During Sandy, elected officials, community leaders and residents worked together to evacuate residents, delivered supplies and made sure that the most vulnerable members of our community were not left behind. The emergency efforts led by our community tested our resiliency and solidarity as a City, and together we overcame. Five years later, waterfront communities are still healing, and I will continue to work with residents to fight for more recovery and resiliency efforts. Thank you to the Mayor and Commissioner Esposito for making today’s event possible.”
“After Sandy, educational efforts like the High Water Mark Initiative can play an important role reminding the public of the dangers of storm surge following extreme weather, potentially saving lives,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez. “As we, unfortunately, may see more storms in coming years, I am glad to see the latest sign unveiled at Pier 35. For my part, I will continue working with officials at all levels of government to promote our City’s resiliency and sustainability.”
“We post signs and markings in our public spaces to remind ourselves of things we can’t forget – and we must never lose sight of the threat of storm surges and extreme flooding,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “We cannot merely rebuild and wait for the next big storm – every year we need to be finding new ways to invest in infrastructure that protects our homes, our businesses, and our vital transportation arteries from extreme weather.”
Even though the Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and runs through November 30, 84 percent of hurricanes form during peak hurricane season, from August through October. NYC Emergency Management plans and prepares year-round for coastal storms, and has a comprehensive Coastal Storm Plan that includes detailed procedures for evacuating and sheltering residents. In a major coastal storm, the City has the capacity to shelter up to 600,000 people with a shelter system that consists of 60 evacuation centers and more than 450 hurricane shelters, including special medical needs shelters. To supply and staff the shelter system, the City maintains an emergency stockpile of essential supplies and a database of City employees and volunteers who would be called upon to manage evacuation centers and emergency shelters. NYC Emergency Management also encourages New Yorkers to take steps to prepare for hurricane season:
Know Your Zone: New York City is divided into six hurricane evacuation zones – it is important to know whether you live in a zone. To find out what zone you live in, visit www.nyc.gov/knowyourzone or call 311.
Make a plan: Make a plan before a storm arrives to help keep you and your family safe. Each member of your family should have a Go bag – a collection of important supplies that you may need if you have to leave your home in a hurry. For more information on how to pack a Go bag, visit here.
Stay informed: New Yorkers can stay informed about emergencies during hurricane season and throughout the year. To sign up for Notify NYC, New Yorkers can call 311, visit NYC.gov/NotifyNYC, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter. Subscribers can receive alerts in seven ways: phone, email, SMS, fax, BlackBerry PIN, Instant Messenger, and Twitter. New Yorkers can also download the Notify NYC App for their smartphone. The Notify NYC mobile app is available for free download from iTunes or Google Play. Search for “Notify NYC.”
The High Water Mark Initiative is a community-based awareness program that increases local communities’ awareness of flood risk. As part of the project, communities post high water mark signs in prominent places and conduct ongoing education and complete mitigation actions to build community resilience against future flooding. The high water mark sign on Pier 35 reminds New Yorkers that on October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought a storm surge of five feet to the pier. The new sign is part of FEMA’s pilot program for New York City and around the country and is one of many signs installed throughout the City. Other areas that have participated in the New York City initiative include: Midland Beach, Staten Island; MCU Park and Coney Island library, Brooklyn; South Street Seaport, Manhattan; Breezy Point, Rockaway Beach, and Hamilton Beach, Queens. To find out more about FEMA’s High Water Mark Initiative, click here.