Coastal Surge Flooding - NYC Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice
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Coastal Surge Flooding

Climate change is causing more frequent and intense flooding from coastal storms and sea level rise.

Our coasts are vulnerable to flooding as a result of coastal surges, which happen when large amounts of water from the ocean rushes onto land, with potential damages to coastal communities and infrastructure. New York City’s low-lying areas are currently exposed to coastal surge flooding by tropical storms, such as Hurricane Sandy, and cold season nor’easters. During a storm, winds can push water towards the coast, causing storm surges. Coastal surge flooding is also exacerbated by sea level rise, which is associated with climate change. Since 1900, sea level in New York City has risen by about 12 inches and is projected to continue to increase as much as 5.4 feet by 2100, leading to increased frequency and intensity of coastal flooding.

Climate change and rising sea levels are likely to fuel more powerful and destructive coastal storms. By the 2050s, a Sandy-like storm could cause $90 billion in damage and economic loss – nearly five times Sandy’s impact. Climate change also has the potential to intensify storms, such as hurricanes, which could further impact coastal communities. Learn more about future climate impacts and the NYC Panel on Climate Change, a body of scientists developing local climate projections.

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