NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Hurricane Irene hit the New York area six years ago. A year after that, Superstorm Sandy brought way more destruction. So what have we learned since then about how to prepare for a hurricane?
Nearly five years after Sandy, few signs of the havoc the storm wreaked remain in Red Hook, Brooklyn. But people like Leroy Jackson, who has owned Red Hook Garden Center on Van Brunt Street for 12 years, still remember it vividly. Five feet of water destroyed everything. He believes not enough has been done to secure the neighborhood from another storm.
That sentiment is shared by lifelong resident Ralph Balzano. He said the neighborhood is not any better prepared.
After the storm, the city and state announced the plan to create a $200 million first-of-its-kind flood-management system in Red Hook. That has since been scaled back to $100 million. Progress has been slow but some interim measures, like a temporary barrier wall, have been installed in the meantime.
Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito said the giant sandbags are supposed to prevent some flooding until a more permanent fix is put in place. He said the city has a plan for every area but it is a long-term project.
"You don't just build a seawall overnight," he said.
Beyond Red Hook, Esposito and Acting FEMA Regional Administrator John Rabin, both appearing at an event for emergency preparedness, said fixes have been made to safeguard against future storms.
"We feel much better prepared than we were," Esposito said.
Rabin said electrical systems in some of the housing areas and hospitals were raised above flood levels so that in the event of another storm surge flood the power won't get knocked out.
Still, people who lived through Sandy said they're waiting for more to be done.
"People are worried about another storm," Balzano said. "It could happen any day."