The Performance of Essential Facilities in Superstorm Sandy
Therese P. McAllister
Superstorm Sandy affected the functionality of a number of essential buildings and facilities in the flooded areas of New York and New Jersey. The flood elevations exceeded design-level floods in many locations, as defined by FIRM maps and codes and standards adopted by local jurisdictions, and impacted a dense urban area with interdependent infrastructure. The flood event caused significant loss of functionality for essential facilities, and substantially disrupted services to the community. Data was collected on the performance and functionality of essential facilities (hospitals, wastewater treatment plants, transit facilities, and data centers), in collaboration with the FEMA Mitigation Assessment Team. The data includes observations on facility vulnerability to flood damage, damage to facility infrastructure, and consequences to facility operations and the community. Key challenges and emerging issues facing structural engineers in their efforts to achieve resilient facilities within risk-informed principles are addressed. In particular, assessment of facility vulnerabilities, design flood levels, and consequences of loss of functionality within a risk framework are presented.