Climate Change Isn't
Coming, It's Here

The Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan aims to build Lower Manhattan’s resilience to climate risks, including daily tides and coastal storms. We are developing a comprehensive plan to secure the future of the region.

Climate Risks

Why Now?

By the 2040s, Lower Manhattan’s shoreline will begin to experience frequent tidal flooding from sea level rise, impacting streets, sidewalks, buildings, and critical infrastructure. By the 2050s, this flooding will occur monthly, and, by the 2080s, it will happen every day. The Whitehall Terminal for the Staten Island Ferry—the busiest passenger ferry route in the country—will begin to see operational impacts by the 2050s. By 2100, daily high tides will reach up to three blocks inland at Pearl Street. Failure to act will render much of this area unusable, leading to the loss of Lower Manhattan—along with its critical citywide functions—as we know it today. Such a devastating impact on our economy, transportation system, and identity, affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of New Yorkers, is not an option.
We are not planning for the Lower Manhattan that exists today. We are planning for the Lower Manhattan of the future that will be underwater every day if we do not act now.
In addition to tidal flooding, Lower Manhattan is at risk from more frequent and severe storms, like hurricanes and nor’easters. Hurricane Sandy devastated the area in 2012, taking two lives and damaging buildings, streets, and infrastructure. In 2021, Tropical Storm Henri and Hurricane Ida brought record rainfall to the city. These threats will only increase over time. By the 2050s, annual losses from coastal storms, including building damage, healthcare costs, and lost services are expected to be over a billion dollars a year if no action is taken. By 2100, severe storms will bring up to 15 feet of flooding and reach up to William Street, five blocks from the East River shoreline. The drainage system will also be increasingly stressed due to the combined effects of increased rainfall and coastal storms, leading to flooding of streets and basements, if no action is taken.

What Threatens Lower Manhattan?

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Daily Tidal Flooding
High tides bring higher water levels along the coast, which can cause flooding in low-lying areas. Sea level rise will expose more areas to daily tidal flooding and result in higher flood elevations.

The Lower Manhattan waterfront could be flooded by high tides almost daily by the 2080s, putting critical infrastructure and jobs at risk. This includes our subway and ferry network, our sewer system, 10% of the city’s jobs, and many historic, cultural, and community assets. By 2100, daily high tides could flood most of the area east of Water Street.
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DAILY TIDAL FLOODING
High tides bring higher water levels along the coast, which can cause flooding in low-lying areas. Sea level rise will expose more areas to daily tidal flooding and result in higher flood elevations.

The Lower Manhattan waterfront could be flooded by high tides almost daily by the 2080s, putting critical infrastructure and jobs at risk. This includes our subway and ferry network, our sewer system, 10% of the city’s jobs, and many historic, cultural, and community assets. By 2100, daily high tides could flood most of the area east of Water Street.
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DAILY TIDAL FLOODING
High tides bring higher water levels along the coast, which can cause flooding in low-lying areas. Sea level rise will expose more areas to daily tidal flooding and result in higher flood elevations.

The Lower Manhattan waterfront could be flooded by high tides almost daily by the 2080s, putting critical infrastructure and jobs at risk. This includes our subway and ferry network, our sewer system, 10% of the city’s jobs, and many historic, cultural, and community assets. By 2100, daily high tides could flood most of the area east of Water Street.
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Coastal Storms
Tropical storms, hurricanes, and nor’easters are major storm events that will cause an abnormal rise in seawater level along the coast, also known as a storm surge. Coastal storm flooding is often more destructive than daily tidal flooding due to its forceful waves and higher water levels.

As climate change progresses, warmer oceans and sea level rise will power increasingly frequent and intense storms with higher levels of flooding. By 2100, 100-year storm is projected to cause flooding over 12 feet deep above ground level in parts of the Financial District and Seaport.
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COASTAL STORMS
Tropical storms, hurricanes, and nor’easters are major storm events that will cause an abnormal rise in seawater level along the coast, also known as a storm surge. Coastal storm flooding is often more destructive than daily tidal flooding due to its forceful waves and higher water levels.

As climate change progresses, warmer oceans and sea level rise will power increasingly frequent and intense storms with higher levels of flooding. By 2100, 100-year storm is projected to cause flooding over 12 feet deep above ground level in parts of the Financial District and Seaport.
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COASTAL STORMS
Tropical storms, hurricanes, and nor’easters are major storm events that will cause an abnormal rise in seawater level along the coast, also known as a storm surge. Coastal storm flooding is often more destructive than daily tidal flooding due to its forceful waves and higher water levels.

As climate change progresses, warmer oceans and sea level rise will power increasingly frequent and intense storms with higher levels of flooding. By 2100, 100-year storm is projected to cause flooding over 12 feet deep above ground level in parts of the Financial District and Seaport.
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Extreme Precipitation
Extreme precipitation is a rainfall event that brings a downpour of one inch or more in a single day.

Such events are projected to occur about 30% more often by the 2050s due to climate change. These events are already occurring more frequently, stressing our sewer system and flooding inland streets. Extreme precipitation could cause wastewater backups and overflows into our rivers, basements, and streets.

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EXTREME PRECIPITATION
Extreme precipitation is a rainfall event that brings a downpour of one inch or more in a single day.

Such events are projected to occur about 30% more often by the 2050s due to climate change. These events are already occurring more frequently, stressing our sewer system and flooding inland streets. Extreme precipitation could cause wastewater backups and overflows into our rivers, basements, and streets.
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EXTREME PRECIPITATION
Extreme precipitation is a rainfall event that brings a downpour of one inch or more in a single day.

Such events are projected to occur about 30% more often by the 2050s due to climate change. These events are already occurring more frequently, stressing our sewer system and flooding inland streets. Extreme precipitation could cause wastewater backups and overflows into our rivers, basements, and streets.

Our plan needs to account for these different flood hazards. Specifically, we are planning for anticipated daily tidal flooding conditions and coastal storm surge in the year 2100. This means a constant level of protection against tidal flooding at ~3.5 feet above the current esplanade and a coastal defense system ~17 feet above the current esplanade to protect against storm surge.

Our plan needs to account for these different flood hazards. Specifically, we are planning for anticipated daily tidal flooding conditions and coastal storm surge in the year 2100. This means a constant level of protection against tidal flooding at ~3.5 feet above the current esplanade and a coastal defense system ~17 feet above the current esplanade to protect against storm surge.

How Has Lower Manhattan Already Been Impacted by Climate Change?

Slide Hurricane Sandy severely impacted communities across New York City, from the Rockaways to Staten Island to Southern Brooklyn to Manhattan. The massive storm surges overtopped bulkheads and flooded low-lying neighborhoods, resulting in particularly severe flooding on the eastern side of Lower Manhattan. Slide Extensive damages forced some ground-floor businesses in the Seaport to remain closed for months after the storm. Extended power outages and telecommunications disruptions impacted many small businesses and residences. Severe impacts to infrastructure, including transportation systems, continue to have ramifications to this day. Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call and tragically exposed NYC’s vulnerabilities to climate change. Slide On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy swept into New York Harbor, tragically killing 44 New Yorkers, inundating 950 residential buildings and 700 commercial and non-residential buildings, and causing over $19 billion in damages and lost economic activity.

What Would the Future of FiDi & Seaport Look Like Without Action?

What Areas of Lower Manhattan Are Most Vulnerable to Flooding?

Here’s what we’ve heard from you about areas of flooding:

What Area Of Lower Manhattan Are You Most Concerned About, and Why?
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