Chuck Schumer asks Congress for $33M for upgrades after Ida



Chuck Schumer asks Congress for $33M for upgrades after Ida

Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday called on Congress to spend $33 million on upgrading the systems that help forecasters predict extreme weather after the remnants of Hurricane Ida caught local officials off guard earlier this month.

“What we saw with Hurricane Ida and what we see more and more is that storms change rapidly, varying in course, rainfall and other factors — and we need to keep up with all of it in real time,” said Schumer (D-NY) in a statement.

The senator is also seeking $3 million in federal funds for upgrades to the Empire State’s system to allow for “sharper” forecasts.

Ida walloped the area earlier this month with flash flooding, killing 18 people in the Big Apple and 27 in New Jersey.

“The bottom line is that without upgrades and federal investment, New York’s forecasting ability could become partly cloudy when it needs to be clear and concise,” he said.

Senator Chuck Schumer asked Congress on September 12, 2021 for $33 million in order to upgrade weather systems that could help predict extreme weather.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Schumer's plea comes after 52 people were killed on the Northeast by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
Schumer’s plea comes after 52 people were killed on the Northeast by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
Steve Sanchez/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press Wire
President Joe Biden and several other officials visited places that were damaged by Ida.
President Joe Biden and several other officials visited places that were damaged by Ida.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The funding would upgrade New York’s 126 observation stations across the state known as a mesonet — a system that provides information to forecasters, meteorologists and emergency management officials to help reduce the blow delivered by extreme weather events. The state has at least one station in all 62 counties, including in the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and East Hampton, according to Schumer’s office.

“[T]hey need to be maintained and upgraded to keep pace with the new challenges posed by climate change and how those challenges make it critical to be as precise as possible with forecasting,” he said.  

In addition, Schumer is requesting $30 million dollars for the equivalent system that monitors storms in the entire country known as the National Mesonet Program.

According to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, NYC incurred almost $50 million worth of damages from Ida.
According to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, NYC incurred almost $50 million worth of damages from Ida.
REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs
Several people lost their lives, including eight people after drowning in their basement apartments.
Several people lost their lives, including eight people after drowning in their basement apartments.
Steve Sanchez/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press Wire
Cars sit abandoned on the flooded Major Deegan Expressway following a night of extremely heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 02, 2021.
Cars sit abandoned on the flooded Major Deegan Expressway following a night of extremely heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 02, 2021.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand supported Schumer’s move.

“As we say with Henri and Ida, once in a generation storms are now happening more than once a season,” Gillibrand (D-NY) said in a statement Sunday. 

“Funding for our national weather systems and hyper-local weather monitoring systems enables accurate local forecasting that lets New Yorkers know whether they need to evacuate their home, and it also helps local emergency managers know who to evacuate and where exactly to focus their preparation and response efforts.” 

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the MTA have faced harsh criticism over their handling of the storm.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the MTA have faced harsh criticism over their handling of the storm.
REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs
De Blasio and the MTA are also expected to face an oversight hearing as to why they did not act properly when the National Weather Service warned the mayor hours ahead of time.
De Blasio and the MTA are also expected to face an oversight hearing as to why they did not act properly when the National Weather Service warned the mayor hours ahead of time.
Anthony Behar/Sipa USA
Schumer said the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion spending plan would go towards helping cities prepare for flooding.
Schumer said the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion spending plan would go towards helping cities prepare for flooding.
REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

The push for upgrades comes after unexpected heavy rainfall hit New York and New Jersey on Sept. 1, days after Hurricane Ida made landfall in the south. Eight New Yorkers trapped in their basement apartments in Queens and one man in his car in the Bronx were among those killed.

At least 52 people have been confirmed dead after Hurricane Ida tore through the Northeast.

New York incurred at least $50 million in damage from Hurricane Ida, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Floodwater surround vehicles following heavy rain on an expressway in Brooklyn, after heavy rain from Tropical Storm Ida brings flooding
Floodwater surround vehicles following heavy rain on an expressway in Brooklyn, after heavy rain from Hurricane Ida.
Wang Ying/Xinhua via ZUMA Press
Several homes in Woodside, Queens were damages in the heavy rains from Tropical Storm Ida.
Several homes in Woodside, Queens were damages in the heavy rains from Hurricane Ida.
Steve Sanchez/Pacific Press/Shut

Mayor Bill de Blasio faced criticism over why the city was underprepared for the deadly downpour — even though the National Weather Service warned of “life-threatening flash flooding” more than five hours before Ida began pounding the area.

In the days following the deluge, the mayor and other politicians vowed to enact mitigations aimed at preparing New York for future extreme weather events.

Last week, Schumer said the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion Dem spending plan would help cities better prepare for flooding.

Senator Schumer is also seeking $3 million in federal funds for upgrades to the Empire State's system to allow for "sharper" forecasts.
Senator Schumer is also seeking $3 million in federal funds for upgrades to the Empire State’s system to allow for “sharper” forecasts.
Ron Adar / M10s / SplashNews.com

On Monday, President Joe Biden greenlit New York’s major-disaster declaration that Hochul requested, a move that will funnel federal relief dollars to local governments and homeowners ravaged by Ida.

On Tuesday, the City Council will hold an oversight hearing to investigate why the mayor and the MTA were caught flat-footed by the storm.

https://nypost.com/2021/09/12/chuck-schumer-asks-congress-for-33m-for-upgrades-after-ida/