Storm Surge Resiliency Planning – Protecting Resources
Climate change is expected to contribute to increased frequency of extreme storm and hurricane events that result in greater storm surges. These storm surges will be exacerbated in the future by mean sea level rise, but large storm surges have already been observed, including during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. While much of the storm surge planning and adaptation efforts conducted have been focused on the Eastern seaboard, storm surges are observed throughout California during intense storm events, particularly in Southern California, and have resulted in flooding and damage to infrastructure.
Preparing for storm surges is critical for protecting vulnerable infrastructure and resources, and resiliency planning can be conducted to understand and implement the floodproofing measures needed. In addition to providing defenses against storm surges that could occur in the near future, storm surge resiliency planning can provide a preview of the more permanent measures likely needed for mean sea level increases projected to occur later in the century. Storm surge planning can be used to provide resiliency to infrastructure and environmental resources, as well as stormwater resources and alternative water supply resources (i.e. stormwater and greywater reuse facilities). These valuable resources are at risk of being impacted by saltwater intrusion, erosion, damage, or other negative effects of storm surges and extreme events.
Storm surge resiliency planning includes inventorying built and/or natural infrastructure and understanding how predicted storm surges could impact infrastructure through modeling. An Active Floodproofing project recently awarded by the New York City Economic Development Corporation through the RISE:NYC competition aims to provide these services to vulnerable small businesses.
The RISE:NYC Active Floodproofing project is intended to assist small businesses in managing and preparing for resiliency to storm surges. The project will involve conducting “Resiliency Audits” at small business partner sites located throughout New York City. Field data gathered during Resiliency Audits, such as the location and elevations of low lying ingress and egress points as well as crucial mechanical and electrical components located below flood elevations, will be coupled with regional stormwater and storm surge modeling results to identify the storm surge conditions during which businesses could be at risk for potential flooding and/or damage. Using these findings, as well as forecast data streams available through NOAA and other sources, business specific internet-hosted dashboards will be developed to enable businesses to view their potential flooding risk in real-time. The Resiliency Audit information will also be used to identify a select number of pilot sites where active floodproofing measures will be designed and installed.
The presentation will provide attendees an overview of considerations needed for storm surge resiliency planning, as well as descriptions of and lessons learned from the RISE:NYC Active Floodproofing project. The presentation will discuss the origin and planning conducted for the project and how similar projects may be beneficial to California communities at risk of experiencing storm surges during intense events.