On October 29th, 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit central New Jersey, causing widespread damage throughout the Mid Atlantic and New England coasts. With it’s location on the New York harbor, Hoboken, New Jersey was devastated by widespread flooding. I live in Hoboken but was fortunate to escape both flooding and electrical outages. This fact made me want to re-evaluate the existing flood maps for Hoboken. I could only find one map online to reference, but it was not very readable. I quickly put together a more visually friendly version by taking the existing map–which was badly keystoned by having been photographed off of a display–and overlaying it on an existing map of Hoboken that I had previously created. I traced the category zone outlines to match the new map. The interesting thing I found was that my house was almost dead center of the Category 2 zone (see red star). I did not get any flooding. My background knowledge of Hoboken includes the fact that it was almost like an island, with a lot of surrounding marsh that was filled in at one time to make room for construction. Some of the highest areas in yellow (including the campus of Stevens Institute of Technology), have a panoramic view of Manhattan, the Hudson River and New York Harbor. The orange areas are more level (not hilly), but at a higher elevation that slopes gently to the lowest red Category 1 areas which are always prone to flooding even in just a heavy rain. You get a sense of what the “island” of Hoboken was probably like, comprising both the yellow and orange areas. The area I live in was once called the Elysian Fields, where people from New York City would come for recreational activities on weekends and holidays.
Map by Steve Walkowiak, swmaps.com