Gov. Cuomo (D-NY): “There has been a series of extreme weather incidents. That is not a political statement, that is a factual statement. Anyone who says there is not a dramatic change in weather patterns is denying reality.”
Floodwaters inundate Ground Zero construction site in NYC (AP)
At a press conference yesterday, New York Governor Cuomo talked about the need to plan for this permanent change in extreme weather. Cuomo has already had to deal with two devastating superstorms since taking office in 2011 — Sandy and Irene.
He said, I don’t believe that” this is “the last occurrence we will have.” He told reporters, “We have a one-hundred year flood every two years now.”
His remarks are worth noting particularly since the 55-year-old governor is widely mentioned as a potential candidate in 2016 or beyond.
Yes, Cuomo didn’t specifically mention global warming, but his entire point was that there is a “new normal” but an old infrastructure, and it’s time to do some serious planning:
You did not have ocean water, salt water, breaching the banks the way you’ve had it in Manhattan, you know, in my lifetime…..
When you start to fill the subway tunnels with salt water—much of the Con Ed equipment is in the tunnels, is underground—when hot electrical equipment hits cold salt water, that is a bad combination. And that is a design flaw, I believe, for our system now, if you anticipate these extreme weather conditions.
Obviously we didn’t when we designed this system. We did not anticipate water coming over the Hudson River, coming over the banks, being five feet deep on the West Side Highway, and filling subway grates and every opening and filling that massive infrastructure we have below ground.
Going forward, I think we do have to anticipate these extreme types of weather patterns. And we have to start to think about how do we redesign the system so this doesn’t happen again. After what happened, what has been happening in the last few years, I don’t think anyone can sit back anymore and say “Well, I’m shocked at that weather pattern.” There is no weather pattern that can shock me at this point. And I think that has to be our attitude. And how do we redesign our system and our infrastructure assuming that?”
Note: The video of the press conference appears to be down, but I transcribed these remarks yesterday.
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