Four Years After Sandy, Storm Resilience Lags, Risk Management

Posted Oct 5, 2016

By Patrick M. Kennell, Steven P. Nassi and Ryan R. Westerfield of Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, LLP.

When Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern coastline of the United States in October 2012, it quickly became apparent how underprepared governments and businesses were for the effects of the storm surge. Sea walls were not tall enough and barriers were not big enough. The salt alone from all this water caused billions of dollars in infrastructure damage to utilities and transportation portals throughout the Northeast. The force of the water’s surge crumpled boardwalks, rushed through the plate-glass storefront windows of businesses big and small, carried steel structures out to the sea, and wiped away entire neighborhoods, crushing lives and livelihoods in its path.

Yet four years on, governments and businesses are not necessarily any more prepared for another event like Sandy. As they moved from recovery to resiliency, many took steps to develop diverse and sustainable storm surge protection, from mobile walls and taller barriers to more permanent infrastructure projects. Many of these remain on the drawing board, however, leaving residents and businesses vulnerable to future storm surge events.

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