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"We knew this event was coming."

-Laura Clemons, Founder of Collaborative Communities

An excerpt from "New York City Wasn't Built to Withstand a Deluge..." September 5, 2021

"People focus on the hurricanes, but the truth is that extreme rain, which can come in the aftermath of a hurricane, like what happened with Harvey and Ida, are the events that we need to be designing for," Laura Clemons, a certified floodplain manager who formerly advised the New York City Housing Authority on resilience strategies, told CNN.

 

In 2014, two years after Sandy, Clemons and a group of experts also designed one of the world's largest stormwater management systems that could mitigate an 8-inch extreme rain event like the one that just devastated New York City.

 

"We knew this event was coming," said Clemons, who is now the founder of Collaborative Communities, working on hazard mitigation projects.

 

"The data was very clear that the next disaster to hit New York City wasn't going to be a [storm] surge event, it was going to be an extreme rain event."

But Clemons said the $250 million project failed to move forward. 

 

"The plan has existed since 2014 of how to implement a massive stormwater management system that could accommodate exactly this type of event so this type of devastation doesn't happen again," she added.