Updated Flood Maps Show How Vulnerable New York City Really Is

The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) released new flood insurance maps for New York City and ProPublica has released a nifty interactive map showing how the zones will look if the city actually floods.

Screen Shot of ProPublica's NYC flood insurance MapOne view of the flood zones during Hurricane Sandy

This new set of maps replaces those drawn up in 1983, and reveal that twice as many structures now sit in flood zones, according to ProPublica.The darker the colour of the water, the deeper the flooding. Damage to buildings, from least to greatest, goes from light yellow to deep red.

Bloomberg is already at work on a $20 billion plan to protect the waterfront in lower Manhattan and another plan to protect one square mile of Staten Island’s eastern waterfront, where 11 people died during the storm. But the subway systems really aren’t ready for a hurricane yet — and they won’t be for years.

The differences in the maps for this one square mile of Staten Island are shocking.

Sandy Storm Surge Eastern end of Staten Island

Here are what they thought were the flood zones in 2007:

2007 flood zone maps for Eastern Staten Island Waterfront

And here is what really happened when Sandy struck. Waves pounded this one square mile of land and submerged the entire area in more than 10 feet of water. The orange buildings represent structures that suffered major damage, and the ones in red were destroyed:So, FEMA has made a few changes to the new map:

Eastern Staten Island Coast new proposed flood zone map 2013

Coney Island, on the southern tip of Brooklyn, was also hit really hard. Here is the map from 2007:

Coney Island 2007 flood zone map

Here is what Sandy did:

Hurricane Sandy Coney Island Damage

Virtually all of Coney Island was a high-velocity “V” zone, depicted by the dark blue colour of the water in the map above.The new flood zone map covers most, but not all of the area damaged by the storm:

2013 Flood Zone Map Coney Island

The 2007 maps were more accurate for the neighbourhood of Red Hook on the western edge of Brooklyn, but Sandy still wrought more damage than experts predicted.

Map of Sand Storm Surge for Red hook

This is what the flood zones for Red Hook in Brooklyn looked like in 2007:

2007 Flood Zones for Red Hook in Brooklyn

On the right of the image you can see how far inland water actually flooded during Sandy: Read the Mayor’s full plan for restoring the city and preparing for future disasters [PDF] >Check out the interactive ProPublica maps >

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.