Many Taking Steps To Better Protect Properties From Flooding, Other Damage

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Superstorm Sandy wasn’t the first monster storm to hit the Tri-State area and it probably won’t be the last. But one year later, many are preparing for the next mega storm that heads our way.

Sandy’s damage was devastating and deadly. The storm was blamed for at least 68 deaths in New York and 71 in New Jersey with property damages estimated at $65 billion.

One year later, people like Joe Courtney of Rockaway Beach are still rebuilding, but this time with future storms in mind.

His new home will have a 14-foot concrete foundation and flood vents that will allow high water to pass through. It’s an expensive renovation, but he had no intention of leaving his neighborhood.

“We never had a question if we were going to rebuild or not,” he said. “This is where I grew up, this is where my wife grew up and this is where our lives are.”

One Year Later: Remembering Sandy | Photos: Before & After

Courtney’s fixes are lessons learned from Sandy that many people are applying to new construction.

Vishaan Chakrabarti, an architect and professor at Columbia University, is overseeing the redevelopment of a factory site on Brooklyn’s waterfront.

It’s a new neighborhood he believes will be able to withstand bigger and stronger storms because buildings are taller and farther back from the water. Vital mechanical systems like elevators and electricity are above any potential flood areas and streets are graded downward so water flows back into the river. Parks and green space help absorb any flood water.

“People want to live on the water, they want to enjoy the water and there are ways to allow people to do that in a way that is still safe,” said Chakrabarti.

A senior scientist at NASA found that Sandy’s track was so rare, it’s only likely to happen once every 700 years.

But many in the scientific community believe that because sea levels are rising, smaller and weaker storms will still be capable of causing massive flood damage if people don’t implement the lessons learned from Sandy.

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