Final updates to New York City’s hurricane evacuation zones were announced by the city on Tuesday, and the new maps include 600,000 more residents who weren’t covered under the old zoning system.
The updated zone system now places a full 37 percent of New Yorkers in an emergency evacuation zone. It also swaps out the old alphabetical zoning system in favor of a numbered system.
“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,” said Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway.
The zone updates use more extensive details about the city’s geographic and weather profile, such as barometric pressure, storm surge and improved elevation data, to better monitor both large and small storms.
“The expanded zones will provide more New Yorkers with a better understanding of how disasters might impact their communities and neighborhoods,” said Gary Bagley, executive director of New York Cares.
To support the recent zoning updates, the city has also upgraded its Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder to support mobile phones, which will help residents know their evacuation zone using GPS technology.
The updates to the city’s evacuation plan could prevent future damage from storms like Hurricane Sandy, which left 42 New Yorkers dead and millions of dollars' worth of destruction in its aftermath.
“Being prepared for any emergency is the best way to keep you and your family safe – know your hurricane evacuation zone number,” said Bruno.