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Ida Brings Flooding to New York

September 4, 2021

By Paul Homewood

 

The sad deaths from flooding in New York are already being used as climate porn, with claims of “historic”, “1000 year floods” and “made worse by climate change” already being bandied about. No doubt we will see a fraudulent climate attribution being rushed out in the next few days.

But what do the actual facts tell us?

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https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/02/new-york-flooding-state-of-emergency-ny-city-flash-flood-nyc-hurricane-ida-remnants 

The main highlights are:

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The Guardian absurdly claim that New York never has hourly rainfall of 1.94” before this year. But how long has Central Park actually been recording hourly rainfall? Like most weather sites in the US, only daily totals were recorded for most of the past.

To put this claim into context, the hourly record for the UK is much more, 3.6”, which was set in 1901 in Maidenhead, hardly the sort of place that gets hit by tropical storms regularly!

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Secondly, the total rainfall from Ida, which was spread over two days, was around 7” in New York. NBC reckon an average of 5.67” for the TriState of NY, Connecticut and New Jersey:

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https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/how-much-rain-did-ida-dump-in-your-area-check-latest-rain-fall-totals/3252498/

 

There is nothing “record breaking” about any of these numbers. The official 24-hour record for New York is 13.57”:

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https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/scec/records/ny/maxp

At Central Park, the daily record of 8.28” was set all the way back in 1882:

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http://climod2.nrcc.cornell.edu/

Indeed over the two days of that storm in 1882, more than 10” fell:

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https://climexp.knmi.nl/data/pgdcnUSW00094728.dat

More importantly though, the CLIMOD chart above shows that heavy rainfall events are not getting worse. Unfortunately the Atlantic coast occasionally gets hit by a brute of a storm. Arguably one of the worst was Hurricane Diane in 1955.

After making landfall in North Carolina as a Category 3 storm, one of three hurricanes to hit North Carolina that year, Diane turned northwards, leaving devastating floods in its wake. Connecticut was worst hit with 12” of rain in 24 hours, and 20” over two days, more than double the total from Ida this week:

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https://www.weather.gov/mhx/HurricaneDiane1955

Just take a look at this video of Diane, and pray we never see its like again:

23 Comments
  1. September 4, 2021 8:07 am

    Kind of like The Dreadful Hurricane of 1667

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/04/04/1737/

    • dennisambler permalink
      September 4, 2021 5:00 pm

      The University of Wales has a feature on the cataclysmic flood of 1607 which inundated South Wales, Devon, Somerset and Gloucestershire, now claimed as a tsunami, rather than rainfall:

      https://www.wales.ac.uk/en/NewsandEvents/News/General/Revisiting-the-South-Wales-Tsunami.aspx The BBC did a programme about it in 2004.

      20th January 1607- 2,000 died around the Severn Estuary
      “Lowlands on both sides of the Estuary suffered inundation, with the Somerset & Gwent levels suffering devastating effects. Severe gale from the west or southwest, coupled to an astronomically high tide: excess over prediction was some 2.3m. As well as the cost in human life, much damage / loss of housing etc., and also cattle, sheep & horses perished.”

      When it comes to the weather, everything happened before…

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      September 4, 2021 11:20 pm

      Great article:

      If after European storms I recommend Hubert Lamb – Historic Storms of the North Sea, British Isles and Northwest Europe.

      A bit about the Grote Mandrenke (drowning) although the contemporary 100,000 is downgraded to 11-30,000.
      1570 All Saints Day “tens of thousands drowned in The Netherlands”
      1703 Great storm – disaster for British fleet – Daniel Defoe
      1707 Admiral Showell lost part of fleet (and his life) on the Scilly islands.
      There are records of storms in 1663, 1697, 1717, 1751, 1791, 1792, 1825, 1881, 1894, 1916, 1928, 1953 (2551 dead in the UK, The Netherlands & at sea), 1962, 1976 & 1978.

      Obviously due to Man-Made Climate Change.

      • September 4, 2021 11:29 pm

        Thank you Graeme. I will add that to my reading list.

  2. Ian Wilson permalink
    September 4, 2021 8:20 am

    The 1900 Galveston Hurricane is estimated to have killed between 6,000 and 12,000 residents. No doubt the casualties would have been far lower had modern satellite and radio warnings been available but even so it should make anyone hesitate before calling current events ‘unprecedented’.
    Here in the UK no recent event comes close to the 1703 Great Storm. Politicians would do well to read Daniel Defoe’s account of it before labelling every modern storm as unprecedented. How many SUVs were there in 1703?

  3. Malcolm Bell permalink
    September 4, 2021 8:47 am

    …. but the lies are already half way round the world whilst we sit pulling on our boots of truth.

    The wonky wokes of the University liberal arts departments dreaming of their pastoralist cupboard neo-communism have taken control with their weapons of XR and no-platform and those of us clear thinking users of inductive reason are silenced by ignorant deductive threats.

    The television news media have failed utterly in their purpose and duty. They are profoundly guilty.

  4. September 4, 2021 9:33 am

    Weaponising the weather as alarmist propaganda is the new normal.

  5. GeoffB permalink
    September 4, 2021 10:17 am

    The authorities, as well as Biden are blaming climate change, because they failed to issue warnings about what was to come. Sandy was 2012 and caused more deaths and significantly more damage, in the meantime they failed to take any steps to mitigate the flooding, particularly of the metro. Compare this with the success of the measures taken in New Orleans after Katrina.

    • Broadlands permalink
      September 4, 2021 1:55 pm

      And before Sandy there was the 1938 hurricane that devastated the same places.

      “Hurricane Sandy was not the first to hit New York: A 1938 storm ‘The Long Island Express’ pounded the Eastern Seaboard. The storm formed near the coast of Africa in September of the 1938 hurricane season, becoming a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale before making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Long Island on September 21. Long Island was struck first, before New England, Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec, earning the storm the nickname the ‘Long Island Express’. The winds reached up to 150 mph and had waves surging to around 25–35 feet high. The destruction was immense and took a while to rebuild. The western side of the hurricane caused sustained tropical storm-force winds, high waves, and storm surge along much of the New Jersey coast. In Atlantic City the surge destroyed much of the boardwalk. Additionally, the surge inundated several coastal communities; Wildwood was under 3 feet (0.91 m) of water at the height of the storm. The maximum recorded wind gust was 70 m.p.h. at Sandy Hook.”

      CO2 was not that far above pre-industrial…

    • September 4, 2021 6:42 pm

      I recall the 2012 flooding in NY resulted in large insurance claims because goods were stored in below ground vaults. One insurer had cleverly (or luckily) decided the premium rates were too low and cancelled cover that year so another insutrer picked up the bill.

  6. Luc Ozade permalink
    September 4, 2021 10:22 am

    Brilliant, Paul. Again, very well done in exposing the lies and distortions of truth.

  7. Joe Public permalink
    September 4, 2021 10:58 am

    In an interesting thread, Roger Pielke Jr. points out:

    “Remarkable detail about NYC infrastructure:
    Sewer system designed to accommodate a 5-year storm, one with a 20% chance of occurring in any year”

  8. dave permalink
    September 4, 2021 11:08 am

    Paul displayed, in a recent post, the (detrended) AMO (Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation)
    from the middle of the 19th Century to the present. It showed an approximately sixty-year cycle but was noisy.

    A centered moving-average of 61 years’ length, applied solely to the three winter months*, produces almost a straight line, which indicates that a model consisting of just this cycle** and noise is valid – at least for the historical data.

    What is also apparent from the data is that negative phases came on quickly “when the time was right;” and that the last two negative phases started in 1902 and 1964*** – a gap of 62 years.

    1964+62 =2026.

    Obviously, on the theory that this model ia good one, we can expect a new negative phase ‘soon.’ We just need to watch the data for the first three months of each year.
    The trouble with natural cycles is that they take their own sweet time!

    * On theoretical grounds, winter is thought to be the most important period.

    **A centered moving average of length X ‘targets’ and removes any regular [sic] oscillation
    which completes in X periods. Therefore, if the average works like a filter and ‘cleans up the
    data’ it is very suggestive.

    *** 1963-4 was, of course, an awful winter in England.

    • dave permalink
      September 4, 2021 12:57 pm

      “1963-4…”

      1962-3 !

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 5, 2021 7:40 am

      Why should there be regular cycles unless there is an outside driver that itself is cyclic? I suspect “climate” is a random walk-in inter-glacials.

  9. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 4, 2021 11:24 am

    As noted earlier climate change is a nice excuse for politicians to explain not having taken action after the last similar event, “It’s not our fault gov”. Unfortunately, the mighty meja accept this and let them off the hook: they do not seem able to use the advanced search facility that the internet offers to see whether events are “unprecedented” or just infrequent.

    To the meja, unprecedented = I can’t recall a similar event in the last few years.

    Following the G&S idea of “a little list” my little list is getting very long! Sadly, I do not think that the wokes have a clue as to the damage done to the UK’s infrastructure already and the effect of the foolish net-zero; and, there is no way that they will read any technical debate on the subject.

    • dennisambler permalink
      September 4, 2021 4:35 pm

      “..they do not seem able to use the advanced search facility that the internet offers to see whether events are “unprecedented” or just infrequent.”

      Indeed. A simple search for “history of floods in NY” came up with this:
      https://www.weather.gov/safety/flood-states-ny

      March 1913
      From the report of George T. Todd, local forecaster at Albany, NY Weather Bureau: [Albany, about 150 miles NW of NY city]
      “The greatest loss from the flood was occasioned by persons who, though doing business near the river, were unable to believe that their property would be flooded. When warned they would say that the firm had been in business in that section or store for 50, 75, or 100 years and that their building had never been flooded before except when there was an ice gorge; that they thought this office must be mistaken, and that they did not believe it was possible for the water to reach a height of 21 feet or more without the help of an ice gorge.”

      Hurricane Agnes 1976
      “Heavy rain from Agnes started on the night of June 20 and continued until the June 23.
      Flooding from Agnes affected the Chemung, Susquehanna, Delaware and Genesee River basins in New York. The flooding in New York alone resulted in 24 deaths and damages of approximately $703 million (in 1972 dollars). The Chemung River Basin was particularly hard hit with record flooding. Some river points along the Chemung River broke previous records by over 7 feet. Elmira and Corning were devastated; both cities saw water over their levees and hundreds of homes and businesses inundated. The 24 deaths in New York occurred in Corning. [about 250 mile N of NYC]”

      Plenty more…

  10. bluecat57 permalink
    September 4, 2021 1:01 pm

    How about “made worse” by 375 years of government incompetence? What part of BELOW sea level don’t they understand?

  11. September 4, 2021 1:51 pm

    Thank you for summarizing the historical data so I did not have to do that for my post (https://pragmaticenvironmentalistofnewyork.blog/2021/09/04/prediction-for-the-new-york-climate-action-councils-next-meeting/) on the aftermath of the storm. One point relative to “Just take a look at this video of Diane, and pray we never see its like again”. The idea that I proposed in my post is that storms like this are inevitable so adaptation rather than futile mitigation investments makes more sense.

  12. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 5, 2021 7:34 am

    Why should a very small geographical location have experienced every possible natural variation in rainfall?

    It’s extremely unlikely that every area the size of Central Park will have had every possible natural bit of weather in the the last 100 years or so – particularly somewhere like New York that occasionally gets hurricanes. How many hurricanes have hit New York in that time? 20? Nowhere near a large enough sample to claim “not natural”.

  13. cookers52 permalink
    September 5, 2021 8:52 am

    The UK will be impacted by extreme weather events, we have a policy of net zero CO2 emissions and are planning to dig up the country to implement this policy.

    However mitigation to prevent harm from inevitable extreme weather events takes a back seat.

    Unanticipated population growth caused by net migration of 300k per year is causing us to be more exposed to extreme weather, our water, transport and energy infrastructure is Creaking , planning policy means we have to build quickly in areas of high flood risk.

    We badly need new reservoirs, none built since 1991.

    Net zero won’t solve this.

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