In 2000, New York City released its first citywide plan for
hurricanes. Due to New York City’s changing population, OEM regularly
updates the City’s plan for hurricane preparedness.
New York is among the country’s most susceptible cities
to hurricane hazards. Although cities like New Orleans and Houston
experience hurricanes more often, New York City’s geography makes its population
especially vulnerable to wind and flooding.
Each of the five boroughs has a coastline, and much of the city is very
densely populated. In addition, a geographic phenomenon called the “New
York Bight” will magnify a hurricane’s effects on the land. The New York
Bight occurs because the New York and New Jersey coastlines meet at a right
angle. From this junction, the New York Bight will guide a storm surge
directly into New York City, amplifying flooding and related damage. View map of New York
Bight (PDF, 236 KB) Get Adobe
To make a comprehensive Coastal Storm Plan, emergency managers must consider
proximity to water, population needs and the New York Bight, among other
factors. After years of analysis, OEM and other local, state, and federal
agencies, have created a coastal storm plan to protect the inhabitants of New
York City from the devastation of a coastal storm.
The plan includes strategies for storm tracking, public information,
evacuation procedures, people with special needs, recovery, and
restoration. All of these pieces work to help New Yorkers move out of
harm’s way, get shelter if needed, and return to their daily lives as quickly as
If National Weather Service forecasts call for a storm to make landfall in
the New York City area, OEM may recommend the Mayor:
Open the City’s Emergency Operations Center
Declare a state of emergency
Order an evacuation
Order cessation of all non-essential services
Depending on the size, speed, and intensity of the hurricane and potential
storm surge, the City has designated three areas that may be
evacuated: Zones A, B, and C. Residents can find out if they live in a
zone with the Hurricane
Evacuation Zone Finder.
In October the fall of 2007, OEM sponsored a design
competition to encourage the development of innovative solutions to provisional
housing in New York City. Because of New York City's dense infrastructure and
diverse population, the traditional post-disaster housing method - mobile homes
- would not be effective in the city. The competition, What If NYC..., is part
of the effort to plan for hurricane recovery.