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MTA Launches NYC Flood Control Tests, States 'Climate Change Is Real'
The Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City tested out a new system designed to protect its subways stations from flooding when another super storm hits, creating a bizarre sight on Wednesday, as The Verge reported.
For four hours on Wednesday, the entrance to the Broadway Station on the G line in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was completely submerged, even though it hadn't rained. The flooding was intentional because the MTA is prepping itself for extreme weather events that will become increasingly common as the climate crisis escalates, as CBS News in New York reported. It was testing out a "flex gate" that seals off the entrance to the station and can hold back 14 feet of water bearing down on it, as The Verge reported.
The MTA joked in a reply to a tweet that it was pivoting to submarines, but then followed up with its own tweet, "But actually, we were testing a new 'flex gate,' which is a flood barrier that would allow us to seal off a subway entrance. We 'test flood' the entrance for four hours to make sure it was installed correctly, which it was!" The tweet said. It continued, "We're doing this because climate change is real."
But actually, we were testing a new "flex gate," which is a flood barrier that would allow us to seal off a subway entrance. We "test flood" the entrance for four hours to make sure it was installed correctly, which it was!— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) November 20, 2019
We're doing this because climate change is real. ^JLP
In another reply, the MTA wrote, "We're investing in capital projects around the system to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate." The tweet linked to an statement titled Preparing for Climate Change, where the agency made about taking a drastic step to prepare for the climate emergency by completely shutting down several stations for six months so it can protect a maintenance facility and storage yard for its trains in Coney Island.
"The location of the yard provides ideal access to multiple subway lines, but it's vulnerable to flooding," said the statement. "With intense weather events like Superstorm Sandy expected to occur more often, we need to act now to protect this vital part of our system, so we can keep trains running safely."
The "flex gate" that the MTA tested on Wednesday easily unrolls and makes a tight seal against a metal lip that runs along the edges of a subway stairwell opening to keep water from running underground, as the New York Post reported.
The subway system experienced catastrophic flooding during Superstorm Sandy in 2012 when stations were inundated from track to ceiling with corrosive salt water. Since that weather event, the MTA has upgraded stations and tunnels to prevent flooding and installed the flexible stairwell cover, or flex gate, at 65 station entrances so far, as The Verge reported. The agency spent $369 million to upgrade the South Ferry 1 train station at the southern tip of Manhattan, which was flooded by 15 million gallons of salt water, according to Gothamist.
"At street level, we built flood gates into flood-prone train station entrances, while hatches and manhole covers were redesigned to withstand large volumes of standing water. Underground, marine cabling replaced the regular wiring in the under-river tubes to increase flood resiliency," the MTA Climate Action Task Force wrote in its 2019 Resiliency Report, as Gothamist reported.
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Britain has been battered by back-to-back major storms in consecutive weekends, which flooded streets, submerged rail lines, and canceled flights. The most recent storm, Dennis, forced a group of young climate activists to cancel their first ever national conference, as CBS News reported.
At the 56th Munich Security Conference in Germany, world powers turned to international defense issues with a focus on "Westlessness" — the idea that Western countries are uncertain of their values and their strategic orientation. Officials also discussed the implications of the coronavirus outbreak, the Middle East and the Libya crisis.
The climate crisis wreaks havoc on animals and plants that have trouble adapting to global heating and extreme weather. Some of the most obvious examples are at the far reaches of the planet, as bees disappear from Canada, penguin populations plummet in the Antarctic, and now polar bears in the Arctic are struggling from sea ice loss, according to a new study, as CNN reported.
- We can all take steps to reduce the environmental impact of our work-related travels.
- Individual actions — like the six described here — can cumulatively help prompt more collective changes, but it helps to prioritize by impact.
- As the saying goes: be the change you want to see in the world.