FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2013
DEPUTY MAYOR HOLLOWAY AND OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COMMISSIONER BRUNO ANNOUNCE FINAL UPDATED HURRICANE EVACUATION ZONES
Evacuation Zones 1 through 6 replace Zones A, B and C - Providing More Flexibility to Tailor Evacuations Based on Storm Conditions
Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway and Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno today announced final updates to the City's hurricane evacuation zones. The new Zones, 1 through 6, which will replace Zones A, B and C, now include an additional 600,000 New Yorkers not included within the boundaries of the former zones. The new zone system - first announced in the City's Hurricane Sandy After-Action report last month - was developed using the latest Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricane storm surge inundation maps generated by the National Weather Service and processed by United States Army Corps of Engineers. The zones are based on coastal flood risk resulting from storm surge - the "dome" of ocean water propelled by the winds and low barometric pressure of a hurricane; the geography of the city's low-lying neighborhoods; and the accessibility of these neighborhoods by bridge and roads. The new hurricane evacuation zones incorporate a recently updated model from the National Weather Service, and the new model accounts for larger and slower moving storms. Additionally, the resolution of the model has been increased, incorporating improved elevation data, and the new evacuation zones also assume that the storm surge will coincide with high tide.
"Over the past six months we have made remarkable strides in the City's recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and as part of our review of the Administration's efforts before and after the storm, we have updated and expanded the hurricane evacuation zones that are part of the City's comprehensive Coastal Storm Plan," said Deputy Mayor Holloway. "The new zones incorporate the best-available data and will help the City to more effectively communicate to those most at risk depending on the characteristics of a particular storm. New Yorkers should go to www.nyc.gov or call 311 to find out if their homes or businesses fall within the boundaries of a new city hurricane evacuation zone."
"Being prepared for any emergency is the best way to keep you and your family safe - know your hurricane evacuation zone number," said Commissioner Bruno. "Make an emergency plan with your family. Always have a Go Bag packed with essentials you may need in the event that you have to leave your house at a moment's notice. Ensure you have several days of supplies, including water, non-perishable foods, a flashlight and a battery-operated radio at home. Emergencies are much easier to manage when you have a plan in place."
The new Zones 1 through 6 include an additional 600,000 New Yorkers not included within the boundaries of the former zones. The increased number of zones will provide the City with more flexibility in targeting areas to evacuate in advance of a predicted storm. The chart below provides the cumulative estimated population of each new zone. The new hurricane evacuation zones are not directly correlated to the previous A, B, and C zones, and a numbering system was selected for the 2013 evacuation zones instead of the previously used lettering system to avoid confusion.
2013 Hurricane Evacuation Zone Population
The Office of Emergency Management's Ready New York Hurricane Guide, which delineates the 2013 hurricane evacuation zones and provides critical information, is available online at www.nyc.gov. The guide will be available in print and in 11 languages, and all households and businesses in a hurricane evacuation zone will receive a Hurricane Guide in the mail in late June. The Department will be focusing outreach efforts in the six hurricane evacuation zones with preparedness presentations for community groups and organizations, which include information about the hurricane evacuation zones, are available by calling 311.
The City also has added additional features to its online Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder, which is now mobile browser compatible and supports mobile GPS. Developed by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, utilizing cloud-based, Google mapping tools, the Zone Finder first indicates whether an evacuation is in effect and which zones are being ordered to evacuate. The Finder can then help users determine their evacuation zones by using current GPS location or an inputted address. Based on this location, the Finder then determines the nearest hurricane evacuation center in ascending order by distance, as well as provides directions to the nearest center. In addition, the hurricane evacuation zone data set will be available in a shapefile format on the NYC Open Data website.
"The City's Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder, and the data it's built upon, played a vital role informing New Yorkers before and during Hurricane Sandy," said Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul N. Merchant. "The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications is pleased to deliver this updated Finder - as well as the underlying data for use by developers and news organizations in building helpful, web-based tools of their own."
In the City's history, a mandatory evacuation has been issued only twice, during Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
New evacuation zones now include: