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Experts Warn Extreme Weather Is Growing More Intense, More Frequent

Sea Levels Expected To Rise Up To Two Feet By 2050
Louis Uccellini, Director of the National Weather Service (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Louis Uccellini, Director of the National Weather Service (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

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OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Tired of the wild weather? Well, get used to it.

Scientists and experts gathered at the eighth annual energy conference at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury on Thursday to discuss extreme weather patterns, which they say are growing in intensity and frequency.

“We’re seeing an increase in the extreme events and increase in damage associated with them as we’ve become more vulnerable,” said Louis Uccellini, Director of the National Weather Service.

The conference was held as the Tri-State area dealt with another round of severe storms.

More than 7 inches of rain has fallen in Central Park this month, nearly three inches above the average for the entire month of June.

“There’s been about a 75 percent increase in heaviest rain events in the northeast in the last 50 years, so these downpours we’re having are increasing significantly,” said Cynthia E. Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Rosenzweig said that by the year 2050, sea levels will likely rise one to two feet.

“Remember that from 1900 until now we’ve had about one foot so what’s projected is either the same or up to double,” Rosenzweig said.

Both of these factors increase the chances of flooding, and Uccellini said residents near and along the coast must take heed.

“If you rebuild your house the exact same way that your original house is and don’t account for being higher up that might not be a wise decision,” Uccellini said. “People are making those kinds of decisions up and down the east coast right now.”

Earlier this week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a nearly $20 billion plan to deal with storms and global warming following a grim report by the New York City Panel on Climate Change.

The report estimates that by the year 2050 there will be a 101 percent increase in the number of people affected by coastal flooding — from 398,000 in 2013 to 801,000 in 2050. Lost jobs will go up 59 percent from 271,000 this year to 434,000 in 2050.

The report also predicts a significant increase in heat waves — three or more days with temperatures in the 90s, saying it could go from two a year to seven a year.

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