NYC plans new evacuation and alert system after deadly flooding

New York City will develop a new evacuation plan and an alert system for basement apartment residents to get them to evacuate during potential flooding incidents.

Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out his plans at a news conference on Friday morning.

13 people died in New York City during the storm on Wednesday.  Most of the victims were trapped in basement apartments.

His plan is called the NYC Climate-Driven Rain Response.  It has three elements.

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The first is a new warning system.

De Blasio said the new warnings will be a "jolt" and a "shock" to people due to their severity.  They will include travel bans, something the city has rarely put into place in the past.  The bans will include the subway system.

He also says the city will create a special alert system just for people who live in basement apartments.  He said there will be situations where mandatory evacuations will need to take place.

"We have historically thought of evacuations as something to do very, very rarely and essentially only in coastal areas," the mayor said.  "Now, we understand there needs to be a different kind of evacuation."

The city estimates there are 50,000 basement apartments in the city.  Many of them are illegal and not up to code.

Part of the plan will be for first responders to go door-to-door to get people to leave.

"We know that basement apartments create a whole set of particular challenges," de Blasio said.  

Finally, he announced a 30-day task force to look into what else the city needs to do to prepare for future extreme weather incidents.

He says that weather incidents are happening rapidly that are beyond the reach of current weather forecasting tools to effectively help people be warned of danger in time.

"We have to assume the worst in a way we never have before.  That storms will move faster, that they will be much more severe, they will be much more sudden, and they will set records regularly.  It's a very different mindset," de Blasio said.