A glance at a chart of average temperatures in New York City during the summer months (not withstanding the recent heat wave we’ve had) reveals typically it gets into the 80s during the daytime in July and August, and cools off at night. This belies the reality—that this “average” is compiled by periods of gorgeous summer days, as well as those stretches of heat and humidity that rival the Brazilian rain forest for sheer physical discomfort. This is because New York is in the path of air streams from the Gulf of Mexico, which bring not only humidity but also the summer storms, some of which might be big enough to cause major damage.
And as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg revealed in June, the city is preparing for even worse weather to come along. “New York City has always faced climate risks, including heat waves, snow storms, high winds, tropical storms, storm surges, lightning, and torrential downpours,” the official report on www.NYC.gov says. “These events affect every New Yorker, and as our climate changes, they will become more frequent and severe. We need to reduce our contributions to climate change, and simultaneously be ready for its effects.”
The report of the New York City Panel on Climate Change is even more blunt: “Environmental conditions as we experience them today will shift, exposing the city and its residents to new hazards and heightened risks; we will be challenged by increasing temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and more intense and frequent extreme events. While mitigation actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions will help to decrease the magnitude and impact of future changes, they will not prevent climate change from occurring altogether.”
Two decades from now, New York will be hotter, more humid, more at risk from hurricanes and tropical storms, more at risk from flooding…and, as the ice caps melt and the sea level rises, more under water. Basically, New York will be like New Orleans.
Happily, the mayor is taking this threat seriously but in the meantime, there are things board members and property managers should be aware of that are affected by the heat and humidity.