HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — City officials are exploring the possibility of erecting sea walls to protect Hoboken from another superstorm.

Sandy’s surge swamped the Mile-Square City with 500 million gallons of water, flooding about 80 percent of Hoboken.

The southwest corner of Hoboken is about five feet below sea level. Data over the last 100 years shows sea levels have risen a foot, but all the new climate change models show that in the next 100 years it will rise five feet, said Alan Blumberg, a professor of ocean engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

“If nothing is done, Hoboken will have severe flooding into the future,” Blumberg told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “The probability of a next Sandy is greater than you winning the lottery.”

Hoboken won nearly $250 million in federal money for barriers or sea walls, but there has been some opposition from residents who fear obstructed views and unsightly walls on city streets.

But Blumberg said they wouldn’t have to be everywhere.

“The water came in at the south side through the PATH center and the north side through the Weehawken Cove, so if you wanted to block the water you don’t have to come to the middle of Hoboken, go to the two ends,” Blumberg said.

He urges residents to get involved and study the proposals.

“I would say to the citizens of Hoboken, pay attention to the public meetings. It’s your life that we’re working on, it’s your property that we’re saving so come talk about the interventions,” Blumberg said. “To the world I would say get ready for sea level rise. The poles are melting, the water is expanding cause it’s hot. So we have to pay attention to all of this.”

Blumberg said they can now chart the flow of flooding and watch it on a computer screen as it happens.

“Now we have in place sensors that measure water level,” Blumberg said. “Every six minutes the data comes into our laboratory from 200 different places around the area. We look at that data and ask, ‘Are we flooding now?’ ‘Is it likely to flood in the next 72 hours?'”

The flooding forecast is available for the public online.


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