NYC subways might flood.
September 20, 2001 1:09 PM   Subscribe

NYC subways might flood. Apparently, the WTC collapse may allow the Hudson River to flood into subway tunnels. eek!
posted by panopticon (11 comments total)
Related story from the New York Times.
posted by mrbula at 1:24 PM on September 20, 2001

maybe I missed it, but neither article seems to address the worst case scenario: tunnels flooding quickly, trapping people in subway cars. sheesh, this is scary.
posted by justkurt at 1:57 PM on September 20, 2001

wow, that short bbc article had a ton of information.
posted by palegirl at 2:01 PM on September 20, 2001

The flash graphics that accompany the NYTimes story are very helpful too. (Can't link it. Click on "Havoc Beneath the Trade Center" under Multimedia.)
posted by jpoulos at 2:09 PM on September 20, 2001

this is the link to that excellent flash explanation john poulos mentioned in the previous comment.
posted by palegirl at 2:16 PM on September 20, 2001

This situation, as well as the recent flooding in Houston and the Great Chicago Tunnel Flood of '92, makes me wonder if it wouldn't be smart to come up with some kind of subterranean flood-control program for systems like these. Sure, they can build concrete plugs in this case, but what if another situation arises where there isn't the luxury of time? What if the rail tunnel under the Hudson collapsed? Much of New York's transportation system would be screwed.

You know, the more I think about it, this could be a terrorism target all of its own.
posted by mrbula at 2:40 PM on September 20, 2001

The BBC article seems to mix up the subway system with the PATH system. The PATH literally goes through the "bathtub", but the subway lines, which are much shallower, do not. My understanding is, if the bathtub is compromised, the currently unused PATH tunnel could flood all the way into New Jersey (the concrete plugs would prevent this). This is the first I have heard any suggestion that the entire NYC Subway system is in danger of flooding. The two are separate systems and are not functionally connected at the WTC.
posted by dal211 at 2:50 PM on September 20, 2001

They're not connected at the WTC, but elsewhere. From the New York Times article:

"The plugs are necessary, Mr. Tamaro said, because if the trade center basement were to flood, water could wind through the PATH tubes back across the river to 34th Street and then go into the subway."
posted by mrbula at 2:55 PM on September 20, 2001

While I was riding on the San Francisco muni underground I stated to think about the BART tunnel across SF Bay. *shudder*
posted by fooljay at 5:11 PM on September 20, 2001

The subway is not going to flood! The IRT line (i.e., 1/9) is "cut and cover", and is above the level of the river. The PATH system is a separate rail system all together. It would the Exchange Place station across the river in Jersey City that would be underwater in such a calamity.
posted by jamsterdam at 8:55 PM on September 20, 2001

Actually, there are both subways and PATH stations running under the WTC. I'm pretty sure that both are under the Hudson River water level at this point.

From what I see from my window here, it looks like the Hudson is running about 10 feet lower than land surface.
posted by TNLNYC at 1:56 PM on September 21, 2001

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