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What If Hurricane Sandy Hit Boston?

By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve
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BOSTON (CBS) – Tunnels flooded for days. City streets overrun with water. Could we ever see damage like that in Boston?

It is a question many people are asking in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve reports how a similar storm could be catastrophic for this area.

Logan Airport would be flooded.

Professor Paul Kirshen researches climate change at the University of New Hampshire.

Computer images created by his staff show almost half of Boston under some water if Sandy had come ashore at high tide with a nine foot storm surge.

“There would be flooding in the Back Bay, MIT, Kenmore Square.”

In New York, lower Manhattan roadways, buildings, and subways suffered unprecedented extreme flooding.

Here in Boston, while the actual chances are more remote, the result would be the same.

The MBTA says they do have certain precautions in place but they only protect against moderate flooding.

For example, at the Aquarium MBTA stop they have two types of pumping systems. They have cameras in the tunnels and the Red Line has flood doors which can be closed under South Station.

While the city’s relatively new Big Dig tunnels have experienced floods from leaks, the state’s top transportation official says Sandy set a new standard.

Richard Davey says, “At the end of the day, what happened in New York City had more to do with natures’ wrath.”

In Boston’s Seaport District, new development must now take into account rising sea levels and climate change.

On the oceanfront in Winthrop, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority says the Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant was built with severe storms in mind, on higher ground and with its own power system.

Fred Laskey says, “In this era of super storms we may have to change the way we think about what we are building on the oceanfront.”

While city’s try to prepare for that 100 year storm, on the east coast, it now has a name. Sandy.

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