In Brief

Post-Sandy, NYC Issues New Hurricane Evacuation Zones

Coastal damage from Hurricane Sandy
Coastal damage from Hurricane Sandy (Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey.)

When Hurricane Sandy barreled into the Northeast coast last October, it brought with it an enormous storm surge, built up by its massive windfield. Coupled with a particularly high tide, the storm inundated vast swaths of coastline. In New York City, the flooding extended beyond the low-lying Zone A parts of the city, which were under a mandatory evacuation order.

The extent of the flooding damage, especially to places in Zone B (most of which were either higher or farther inland than the flooding was projected to reach), were part of the impetus for the city to revise their hurricane evacuation zone maps, with a more fine-grained set of zones, numbered 1-6. City officials said these will allow for more nimble planning when responding to specific storm threats. With the new zones, an additional 600,000 people are included in an evacuation zone area; the number of people in a zone accounts for 37 percent of the city's population. Zone 1 is the most at risk for flooding, and is home to an estimated 370,000 city residents. The total number of city residents in all six zones is 2,990,000, according to the NYC Office of Emergency Management. There are areas of the city that are high enough or far enough inland that they are not included in an evacuation zone.

In New York City and want to know if you're in an evacuation zone? Check the NYC Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder.

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Andrea Thompson
Live Science Contributor

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.