Parts of New York City are submerged under 13 feet of water, but help is on the way: As we speak, a specialized unit called the "National Unwatering SWAT Team" is en route to Gotham. Ever heard of 'em?
During a press conference in Manhattan this morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised eyebrows with his mention of the group sent by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "A National Unwatering SWAT team is on its way to New York and we need them very badly," said Cuomo, seeming "slightly amused by the name" according to one reporter. What is this "unwatering" process and what in the blazes is an "Unwatering SWAT Team?" We asked Rodney Delt, chief of emergency management at the Army Corps of Engineer's Rock Island District in Illinois, where the SWAT team is typically stationed. We started with the basics: What's unwatering?
"It's just removing water from places it's not supposed to be," he said plainly. While his answer was simple, he said the task ahead of the Rock Island District's unwatering team was not.
The team of four expert engineers left for New York City this afternoon and are expected to arrive between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Delt said they are the finest unwatering experts in the country, given their experience in dewatering the inundated areas of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. "They're subject experts," he said. "They can't do all of the work themselves but they can advise the other people in New York."