New York

New York will increase alerts and evacuations in response to storm deaths, mayor says.

In the wake of the deaths of 13 people in New York City from this week’s flooding, most of them in basement apartments, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that the city would increase the use of evacuation orders and travel bans, issue stronger flood warnings to those living in basement apartments and send emergency responders door-to-door to help evacuate residents.

“We have to change everything,” Mr. de Blasio said of the effort he called “Climate-Driven Rain Response.”

“It’s not like the rain we used to know,” he added. “It’s a different reality, a speed and intensity that we now have to understand will be normal.” The city recorded its heaviest one-hour rainfall ever on Wednesday, 3.15 inches, breaking a record set only days earlier by Tropical Storm Henri.

Mr. de Blasio said that the city will now issue travel bans more quickly. And instead of using evacuation to remove people from coastal areas, the city will now move to evacuate people in basement apartments and other areas that face flooding from heavy rain.

“This is a very forceful measure. It’s not just saying to people you have to get out of your apartment, it’s going door-to-door with our first responders and other city agencies to get people out,” Mr. de Blasio said.

The city will target special phone alerts to neighborhoods, particularly in Queens, with heavy concentrations of basement apartments, which are collectively home to tens of thousands of New Yorkers, largely immigrants, and are mostly illegally converted and subdivided units.

In spite of warnings from the National Weather Service that New York City would see heavy rain and flash floods, Mr. de Blasio said the intensity of Wednesday’s rainfall was unprecedented and caught city officials off guard.

“I’m telling you, this was not part of any previous playbook, but we’ve got to literally change the whole way of thinking because as good as some of the projections are, they can’t always keep up with weather that changes this rapidly and this radically,” he said on MSNBC.

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