OSSINING, N.Y. – An environmental advocacy group is warning that global warming could cause more flooding in Ossining and other Westchester river towns in the next several years.
Environment New York representatives spoke at Ossining’s Louis Engel Waterfront Park Tuesday morning to release findings from a report that “extreme rainstorms and hurricanes are happening 64 percent more frequently in New York since 1948.” Eric Whalen, the group’s field organizer, said Tuesday during a press conference that the storms could be linked to global warming and could cause extreme weather in Westchester.
“The old adage when it rains it pours is more true now than ever,” Whalen said in Ossining Tuesday. “We’ll see coastal towns and river towns like Ossining and others in Westchester continue to be hit with extreme weather events.”
Whalen pointed to the storms that swept through the Westchester area on Oct. 31 as a prime example.
“We’ve seen evidence of this just last year when the Ossining railroad station was shut down and people lost their lives in New York just due to extreme weather events,” he said. “And that doesn’t include the millions of dollars in property damage throughout the state.”
The report, which is set to be available at Environment New York’s website, summarizes weather statistics over the last several decades. In addition to the increase in extreme rainstorms from 1948 to 2011, the report mentions that heavy downpours and snowstorms that used to occur once a year in 1948 now occur once every 7.3 months on average.
Whalen and others with Environment New York said they are hoping residents realize there are steps they can take to reduce carbon emissions. But Whalen said there are bigger steps area legislators can take as well.
“We’re trying to tell residents that there is something they can do and that is to contact local decision-makers and ask them to reduce global warming pollution in any way that they can,” he said. “Fortunately there are a number of programs that are being put in place and more that can be. The bottom line is that our decision-makers can do a lot, but only if they hear it from the public. It’s important that we offset the pressure from special interests like coal and oil companies and get citizens engaged in our democracy to push back and cut global warming pollution.”
Environment New York is a statewide environmental advocacy organization that “combines independent research, practical ideas, and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests and win real results for New York’s environment,” according to the group’s website.