Mayor Releases New Plan to Combat Extreme Weather

Mayor de Blasio holds up copy of a new report outlining new strategies for the City’s future response to extreme weather. Image Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

Recommendations include citizen education and investments in infrastructure upgrades. On September 27, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the release of “The New Normal: Combatting Storm-Related Extreme Weather in New York City.” The report establishes an extreme weather response blueprint for the city and was the creation of the Extreme Weather Response Task Force. The task force consisted of City agency leaders and experts on climate change and resiliency, and came together in response to develop new protocols and policies to protect from future storms like the multiple severe storms the city experienced this past summer.

The report focuses on several strategies including: education and training for New Yorkers to understand the reality of climate change; preparation and planning for worst case scenarios; accelerating upgrades for storm modeling, alert and tracking systems; protection for basement and cellar occupants; upgrading and replacing sewage and drainage systems; increase green infrastructure; broaden protection for inland communities as well as coastlines; and call for federal and state support to increase reach.

Mayor de Blasio announced plans to support the recommendations with a $2.1 billion investment in the Department of Environmental Protection. $238 million in accelerated funding will go to critical DEP projects; $400 million will go to other priority capital projects among other agencies like the Department of Transportation, NYCHA, the School Construction Authority, and the Parks Department. 

In addition, a “Rainboots on the Ground” program has been established to distribute educational information on evacuation procedures for residents in basement apartments and flooding vulnerable neighborhoods. The City will work with 60 community-based organizations to canvass neighborhoods and conduct outreach starting in 2022. 

The Mayor also announced the creation of an Extreme Weather Coordinator position in City Hall. This coordinator will work with New York City Emergency Management and other agencies. Deputy Mayor for Administration Emma Wolfe has been appointed to this role. 

The full report can be read here

Mayor de Blasio stated, “Extreme weather is more common than ever, and more severe than ever. Business as usual is over. Keeping New Yorkers safe means profoundly changing the way we prepare for – and react to – this new normal. This new report charts a path forward for investing in vulnerable neighborhoods, shoring up our infrastructure, warning communities ahead of major weather events, and better tracking storms before they arrive. I’m proud to share it with New Yorkers, and I look forward to forging a safer and more resilient city.”

Deputy Mayor for Administration Wolfe stated, “New Yorkers have seen the effects of extreme weather on their communities, and they know it’s happening more frequently than ever before. With this blueprint, their City will be as tough, prepared, and resilient as they are. Thanks to targeted investments and better storm tracking, New York City will be more prepared than ever to keep the city safe from extreme weather.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


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