Hurricane Sandy

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  • Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy as it approaches the U.S. Photo: NOAA.

    East River on the Manhattan side in New York, USA as Hurricane Sandy bore down on the US East Coast. Photo by: Andrea Levine/PA Wire.

    Another view of East River on the Manhattan side in New York, USA as Hurricane Sandy bore down on the US East Coast. Photo by: Andrea Levine/PA Wire.

  • Hurricane Sandy
    01.11.2012 16:39

     

    The past week saw Hurricane Sandy cause havoc across north-eastern parts of the United States, but why did it bring so much disruption?

     
    Sandy became the eighteenth tropical storm and tenth hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season when it formed in the western Caribbean Sea on 22 October. Once formed, Sandy tracked northwards across Jamaica and the Bahamas before reaching the east coast of the U.S during the evening of the 29 October as a category one storm.

    Once the storm made landfall over the U.S, it set all-time records for lowest air pressure across Atlantic City (New Jersey), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) and Wilmington (Delaware). Sandy also gave storm force winds across a wider area of the U.S than any other storm since 1988, with high wind warnings posted north to south from northern Michigan to Lake Okeechobee, Florida, and west to east from Chicago to Maine. The strongest wind gust was 90mph at Ipsay on Long Island, New York, as the hurricane came ashore. The New York airports, JFK and Newark also had gusts of up to 79mph and 78mph respectively.

    However, arguably, the most significant feature of the hurricane was the storm surge that it produced. At The Battery, Manhattan, the storm surge was an incredible 13.7 feet above the MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water), this easily surpassing the previous highest known, which was 10.5 feet when Hurricane Donna passed by in 1960.

    As well as the strong winds and storm surge, Sandy also gave widespread heavy rain which turned to snow as it reached the mountains of West Virginia and Tennessee to bring significant accumulations.

    With over 20 states being affected by the sheer size of the storm, damage is expected to exceed $20 billion which would lead to it being one of the costliest natural disasters in recent U.S history.

    By: Andy Ratcliffe