MANHATTAN — More than half a million additional New York City residents could be told to evacuate their homes during future hurricanes after the city expanded flood evacuation maps in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The city's Office of Emergency Management and Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway released an updated hurricane evacuation zone map Tuesday in which more than a third of New Yorkers' homes now fall within danger zones.
The new system, with evacuation zones numbered 1 through 6, replaces the former A, B and C system and is the result of six months of collaboration between the city, the National Weather Service and the Army Corps of Engineers.
“The new zones incorporate the best-available data and will help the city to more effectively communicate to those most at risk, depending on the characteristics of a particular storm," Holloway said in a statement.
OEM said they determined the borders of each zone by accounting for the areas' risk of flooding from storm surge, their elevation and their accessibility to roads and bridges.
The new maps also take into account the intensity, placement and size of storms, an OEM spokeswoman explained. The models being used by the city will help people brace for larger, slower-moving storms, she said.
Additional portions of Harlem and Chelsea now fall within evacuation zones. Additional areas on the eastern coast of The Bronx have also been added.
In Brooklyn, flood zones now include additional parts of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Brownsville, Flatbush and Bensonhurst. In Queens, Maspeth, Elmhurst, Jamaica, Ozone Park and Jackson Heights have been added to the maps.
On Staten Island, flood zones have crept inland as well.
The new evacuations zones now include 175 of the city's 334 public housing complexes, up from 149 covered in the city's previous flood map. Twenty-five hospitals are now found within the flood zone, up from 21. And 69 nursing homes now fall within the evacuation zone, up from 60 in the previous map.
Detailed zone maps and storm-readiness tips can be found at maps.nyc.gov/hurricane.