Experts: Climate change likely not to blame for severe storms in NYC

Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Experts: Climate change likely not to blame for storms in NYC
Climate change may be to blame for extreme heat that's ravaged the country, but experts say it was likely not a major factor in the severe storms. Reporter Derick Waller has the la

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Climate change may be to blame for extreme heat that's ravaged the country this summer, but experts say it was likely not a major factor in Tuesday's severe storms that toppled more than 100 trees across New York City.

Most of those trees fell in Brooklyn. On Bay Ridge Parkway in Bensonhurst, parks department crews were busy sawing limbs and clearing streets Wednesday morning.

At a press conference Tuesday, the city's Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Zachary Iscol was quick to place the blame on climate change.

"This is sort of the new normal that we're facing now in New York City," Iscol said. "We talked about climate change all the time. You can see that we're seeing it, you see it in the flooding such as what occurred up in Vermont, and upstate New York. You see it in the high heat that we're getting in the Southwest. You saw it with the air pollution we got in the city because of wildfires. You see it in some of the flash flooding events. And you see it in events like this."

But climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disagree.

They categorize microbursts as convective storms, common in the Northeast during the summer. And they say, unlike extreme heat and cold, those storms have the least connection to climate change.

Neighbors pointed out some of those downed trees were also hollowed out.

"They're not taking care of anything because over here, right in front of here, they had to cut that tree because it happened before, the same thing," Brunilda Gonzalez said. "So these trees they have to be removed."

When asked when the trees were last inspected, Commissioner Iscol said he did not know.

An NYC Parks Department spokesperson told Eyewitness News that, generally speaking, the trees along Bay Ridge Parkway were deemed to be in good and fair conditions the last time they were inspected in 2022, but they did not provide details of specific tree complaints from neighbors.

If you are concerned about a dying or damage tree in your neighborhood, you are asked to call 311 and report it.

ALSO READ | How to prepare for NYC's first potential heat wave of summer


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