Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
More evidence that scientists know what they're talking about.
Using flood data of FEMA's Hurricane Sandy Impact Analysis and the U.S. Geological Survey's reports on high water marks, together with predictions based on the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the crack mapmakers at WNYC's Data News Team -- John Keefe, Steven Melendez and Louise Ma -- have assembled a map that contrasts the two.
Crimson, orange and yellow show the predicted impact of Sandy or another hurricane on the New York area -- what were known to New York City residents as Zones A, B, and C. In blue, the flooding as it happened when the storm made landfall on the evening of Monday, October 29.
The striking thing about the map, which includes all areas of New York and New Jersey affected by the storm surge, is how close the contours of the estimates were to reality. Though the degree of damage varied from place to place, flipping back and forth from projection to reality is an affirmation of how well-informed we were about what a storm surge would look like -- and, despite that, ill-prepared.
Map courtesy of WNYC.