New York City wasn’t built for this.
The drainage system underneath its iconic streets can’t cope with more than two inches of rain per hour.
In Friday’s deluge, the skies delivered that amount – and more.
The intensity of the downpour brought quantities of water that backed up into city streets, streamed into subway stops and poured into basements across the city’s five boroughs.
It was only in 2021 that New York witnessed similar scenes, inflicted by Hurricane Ida.
This was a repeat, two years on – a climate change alarm, on snooze.
As relieved as New Yorkers will be at the passing of the deluge, they can only worry about next time.
Like everywhere else, the weather event hasn’t been factored into infrastructure design as the city grew.
Consider the number of people living beneath street level.
If there’s a ground-zero for the basement dweller, New York is probably it.
Tens of thousands of residents make their home on the lowest floor, in a place where a population is shoehorned into every available space.
It makes sense and it makes money, even if it doesn’t make for good planning in the climate change era.
We saw but one example in pictures of basements flooded by water with nowhere else to go.
It is New York’s uneasy accommodation with Mother Nature.
The city was built for weather as we knew it, not as we know it now.