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Could There be a Tsunami in NYC?

We recently reported on how global warming will affect our future. Scientists agree that one thing that will definitely happen is that melting ice will cause sea levels to rise, threatening coastal cities. Hurricanes, caused by warmer ocean temperatures, are also a threat. New computer modeling indicates that New York City could be hit by a hurricane that turns into a tsunami (a giant wave).

75 years from now, sea levels are expected to be 3 feet higher. Sea level around the city could jump 15 to 19 inches by 2050 and by more than three feet by 2080, according to the model. In LiveScience.com, Ker Than quotes NASA's Vivien Gornitz as warning, "With sea levels at these higher levels, flooding by major storms would inundate many low-lying neighborhoods and shut down the entire metropolitan transportation system with much greater frequency."

But could New York have a hurricane that would turn into a tsunami, such as occurred in Indonesia almost two years ago? Hurricanes have rarely hit New York City, although a category 4 hurricane, that came from the Caribbean, did hit Queens in 1821, causing a 13-foot-high wave that flooded lower Manhattan. In 1938, another hurricane unleashed a 35-foot-high ?wall of water,? and that was only a Category 3 storm.

New York City might be advised to surround itself with a series of barriers, in the way that citizens of New Orleans are planning to replace their outdated levee system. A 1995 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the National Hurricane Center predicted that another Category 3 hurricane could create a tsunami 25 feet high at JFK Airport, 21 feet high at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, and 26 feet high at La Guardia Airport. It's clear that Manhattanites would not be able to evacuate!

Maybe high rise buildings in major coastal cities need to start storing boats on their roof tops, just in case.

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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