A new book by Stephen Marche focusing on possible scenarios that could lead the United States into a second civil war includes a frightening scenario of a hurricane decimating New York City.
In "The Next Civil War: Dispatches from The American Future," Marche explores several scenarios that could irrevocably split the already hyper-polarized nation into a violent conflict, including a Category 2 hurricane smashing into New York City, submerging whole neighborhoods overnight and causing a massive refugee exodus from the city.
Red Hook, "the most vulnerable New York neighborhood, no longer exists," writes Stephen Marche in the new book, published by Simon & Schuster, the New York Post reported Saturday. "Several witnesses report seeing a baby floating in a stroller."
It is an unsettling thought, but recent history including Superstorm Sandy and the fallout from Hurricane Ida demonstrated how vulnerable one of the largest cities in the world is to nature.
The Post reports that the nightmarish scenario shows "unprecedented damage," leveling Prospect Park in Brooklyn, flooding the bridges, tunnels, and airports, and forcing the governor to deploy 100,000 National Guard soldiers into the city’s downtown to keep order.
While the hurricane in the book, a Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, would be devastating enough with windspeeds of 96-110 mph, a major Category 5 storm would be exponentially worse with 157 or higher mph. winds producing catastrophic damage.
"The one thing there is reasonable consensus on, at least for hurricane activity for the U.S., is overall an increase in the frequency and intensity of Category 4 or Category 5 hurricanes," Peter Sousounis, the director of climate change research at AIR Worldwide, said in one of the many interviews Marche conducted while authoring the book, the Post reports.
One of the biggest vulnerabilities for New York City is its "flat" topography.
When Sandy came ashore around Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 2012, it was not even a hurricane, but had weakened into a combination tropical storm and nor’easter, according to the Post’s story.
Nonetheless, it caused more than $32 billion in damage and closed eight tunnels in and out of the city, stranding thousands, and killing 285 people.
Last year’s hurricane Ida remnants caused flash flooding in the New York metropolitan area, killing 18 and shutting down the city’s transportation system, according to the report.
There are some large-scale plans and projects designed to help the city survive such potential storms, including a $1.45 billion, 2.5-mile "floodgate" project along lower Manhattan that would rise to 16-feet high, with the ability to "adapt" and become higher if warranted.
"If the projections for sea-level rise and storm surge get worse than what we believe they are now, we can actually add elevation to the wall to add further protection," Jainey Bavishi, who directs the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency said to the Post during an October press conference announcing the plan.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 2026 and could be "a step in the right direction" as the city faces an uncertain storm future, the Post reports.
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