PLUMB BEACH, N.Y. (WPIX)—If Hurricane Earl maintains its force and makes a beeline for New York, coastal neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens could be in trouble. With that threat in mind, Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) has called on the Army Corps of Engineers to anticipate an urban weather catastrophe.
"This is more than just a matter of losing a couple of days at the beach," Weiner said. "These are people's homes we're talking about."
Specifically, Weiner is calling for federal help in constructing a series of jetties that would prevent hurricane related beach erosion. Kathy Flynn, who heads the Sheepshead Bay Plumb Beach Civic Association, says the neighborhoods she represents will remain vulnerable to storms like Hurricane Earl until the Corps installs sea barriers.
"We need the Army Corps of Engineers to get involved. In both areas we need help and we need it now."
History proves that kind of worry isn't totally misplaced. In 1893 a storm smaller than Earl left water lapping above elevated train tracks in Brighton Beach. Seventy-two years earlier, a storm that was category 3 at it's peak, made landfall near Jamaica Bay and caused widespread flooding in Lower Manhattan.
Weiner said he fears a storm like Earl might also wreak havoc on traffic, especially along portions of South Brooklyn's Belt Parkway.
Pointing to snarled vehicles over his shoulder, Weiner described a hurricane-fueled traffic calamity.
"This is bumpber to bumper traffic on the Belt Parkway in the middle of the day in the summer season. Imagine what this could be like if this traffic had to be diverted into neighborhoods of Southern Brooklyn and Southern Queens."