NYC Public Advocate’s Statement On City's Response To Flash Floods

September 29th, 2023

Press Release

"I urge New Yorkers to follow basic precautions as the dangerous flooding conditions continue – especially to avoid travel and to move to higher floors where possible. This emergency is ongoing.

"From orange skies to flooded streets, a pattern is becoming clear – the administration has been delayed and insufficient in using the most effective tools in notifying New Yorkers about extreme weather emergencies which are only increasing in frequency. With schools opening only to immediately close, with roads rapidly closing and transit lines shutting down, it's clear that there have been gaps in the city’s early rapid response to this storm, and those inadequacies can only be corrected if they are acknowledged. Notifying the public as soon as possible, and in real time is key. While the city’s social media updates are helpful, larger rapid response tactics like a mayoral press conference and notifications from Notify NYC before the storm began would be a more effective way toward reaching the masses to ensure folks are able to plan accordingly, and may have kept people off the roads during the morning rush.

"To the administration’s credit it does appear that there was a plan for city agencies in place behind the scenes that activated quickly and appropriately. Still, it is vitally important for New Yorkers to see the Mayor speak to that plan in advance of– not just in the midst of– an emergency.

"In general, neither our city’s physical or communications infrastructure are keeping up with the climate crisis and the dangerous conditions it will continue to create. It’s critically important that as climate change continues to impact communities across the city, we have a larger conversation and comprehensive, tiered strategy to better prepare for a future of more frequent and severe storms."

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