Worried Commuter Asked Why Subway Station Was Flooded, the MTA Had a Fun Response

The Twitter exchange took a more serious turn when the genuine answer was revealed.
Fabienne Lang

On Wednesday 20 November, the subway entrance stairs of the Broadway and Union Avenue station were submerged underwater, yet there was not a raincloud in sight. 

A concerned Twitter user posted an image of the flooded station entrance on her account, asking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) what was going on. 

The MTA initially retaliated with a funny comment, but quickly explained that this was an exercise relating to global warming. 


Why would a subway station be flooded on purpose?

The reason behind the flooded NYC station is a very serious one indeed and has all to do with climate change circumstances. Many industries and companies are taking preventative steps to prepare for these, and the MTA is no exception. 

But when Twitter user Kaye Blegvad was taking her usual commute on the subway, she had no clue about the climate change precaution. Instead, she did what most people do nowadays and posted a photo of the submerged station online, demanding a response from the MTA.

The MTA took this opportunity to joke about a new submarine subway service. They said, "We're pivoting to submarines." 

That certainly may assist us when lands and cities start to go underwater because of rising sea levels, but it's not quite the tactic they're aiming to use yet. 

The MTA didn't leave people waiting in too much suspense, though, as they swiftly followed up by explaining they were actually testing a flood gate in the station. 

Their follow-up tweet stated "But actually, we're testing a new "flex gate," which is a flood barrier that would allow us to seal off a subway entrance. We "test flood" the entrance for four hours to make sure it was installed correctly, which is was! We're doing this because climate change is real."

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The 'flood' had been planned to see how well the doors held up if such an event, like 2012's Superstorm Sandy, was to occur (again). 

Flooded subway stations due to storms

In the past, subway stations have had to endure storms and hurricanes battering them. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 hit New York City, submerging many of the city's subway stations under water.

Worried Commuter Asked Why Subway Station Was Flooded, the MTA Had a Fun Response
Superstorm Sandy flooding in one of NYC's subway stations in 2012, Source: MTA

The damage and repair of Sandy cost $5 billion in reparations alone. 

Sea levels rose above the tide line and brought the water level up between six to eight feet in certain parts of the city and the Jersey Shore. Underground subway platforms and stations took a big hit. 

So, in an attempt to control the damage ahead of another storm hitting the city, the MTA are testing their flood gates. Because, as they say, "climate change is real."

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