An ounce of prevention could stop hurricane winds and flooding from tearing up Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay.
It’s a cause that Rep. Anthony Weiner has been championing, and last week the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) agreed to an official study to see if new storm protection measures are needed.
“Investing in protective measures for Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay will save money in the long run, but more importantly, it may save lives,” said Weiner, who is asking the House Transportation Committee for $100,000 to pay for the study.
Specifically, the study will look at whether severe storms could generate waves high enough to top the existing seawall. It will also evaluate whether a powerful storm surge could erode the seawall, endangering nearby homes.
The ACE decision for a study of the area comes about a month after Corps officials and representatives from Rep. Weiner’s office toured the area to check if existing structures would sufficiently guard against storm surge from a potential hurricane.
Following the site visit, ACE officials indicated that future storms could pose a serious threat to residents and homes along the coast and recommended that action be taken.
“There appears to be a potential opportunity for the Corps of Engineers to participate in a long-term solution for storm damage reduction in the Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay areas,” Army Corps Colonel Tortora wrote in a letter to Weiner.
The ACE last conducted a study of Manhattan Beach’s and Sheepshead Bay’s hurricane protection measures in 1992 and decided against adding any new protections.
Instead, the Corps decided to rely on the Rockaway peninsula to serve as a buffer against storm surge.
However, since that study Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield, testifying before a Senate Subcommittee last year, said that the Atlantic Ocean entered a cycle of increased hurricane activity in 1995 that has brought — and will continue to bring — more frequent and more powerful storms.
Additionally, the Weather Channel has named New York City the third most vulnerable city in the entire nation to hurricane hazards — following only Miami and New Orleans.
Last summer, Mayfield said, one of the highest storm surges possible anywhere in the country is where Long Island juts out at nearly right angles to the New Jersey Coast.
Currently, the ACE is doing three projects to protect the city’s Atlantic coastline from a hurricane, but Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay are not included.
Weiner spokesperson Glen Caplin said the congress member does not see a problem in getting the federal allocation for the study.
“We hope the House will authorize these funds by the end of the current session,” said Caplin, adding the session ends in mid-December.
©2008 Community News Group
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