EARLIER THIS month Mayor Thomas Menino announced a new initiative to prepare Boston for a 2-foot rise in the sea. He didn’t waste his breath debating climate change or the causes of global warming. With the devastation of Hurricane Sandy still visible along much of the East Coast, he didn’t need to. The mayor’s approach was characteristically pragmatic: Climate change is here; the floods are coming — let’s get ready. “We can’t predict the next superstorm,” he said. “But we can prepare for it.”
Few people realize how close Boston came to disaster during the hurricane in October — or even during the blizzard earlier this month. If Sandy’s storm surge had hit Boston at high tide, just a few hours earlier than it did, newly developed flood maps show that more than 6 percent of Boston would have been under water. The flood area includes the Charlestown Navy Yard, Gillette headquarters in South Boston, the Aquarium MBTA station, and 65 percent of the Fort Point channel district.