Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later

A year ago, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along the East Coast of the U.S., and was one of the most powerful storms of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

Coney Island landmarks are visible as crews work to place sand and restore the beach at Coney Island  - Credit: New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Flickr

Coney Island landmarks are visible as crews work to place sand and restore the beach at Coney Island – Credit: New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Flickr

Millions of people were affected by Sandy’s record-breaking size and devastating fury, but few were prepared for its unusual trajectory towards the East Coast, resulting in widespread catastrophic damage.

Contractors continue work on a terminal groin being constructed as part of Phase II of the Plumb Beach Coastal Storm Risk Reduction Project in Brooklyn - Credit: New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Flickr

Contractors continue work on a terminal groin being constructed as part of Phase II of the Plumb Beach Coastal Storm Risk Reduction Project in Brooklyn – Credit: New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Flickr

What Happened

  • On October 22, 2012, an organized low pressure system formed into Tropical Depression 18 in the Caribbean Sea. With conditions being optimal for strengthening, Tropical Storm Sandy quickly formed later the same day.
  • On October 24, Tropical Storm Sandy intensified to Hurricane Sandy, with maximum sustained winds reaching 80 mph. Tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings were issues throughout the Caribbean.
  • On October 24, Sandy made its first landfall near Kingston, Jamaica. Sandy’s intensity peaked at a category three hurricane as it raced through the Caribbean, but eventually weakened as an upper-level disturbance steered it northwestward into open Atlantic waters. Although Sandy dwindled back to a tropical storm, it grew tremendously in size, spanning 1,100 miles in diameter, shattering the previous record set by Hurricane Igor in 2010.
  • By October 27, Sandy regained and maintained its hurricane status through its journey along the East Coast.
  • On October 29, Sandy made its notorious sharp turn to the west, smashing into the New Jersey coast.
Damage on the Jersey Shore seen during a visit by Army Gen. Frank Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau - Credit: General Frank Grass via Flickr

Damage on the Jersey Shore seen during a visit by Army Gen. Frank Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau – Credit: General Frank Grass via Flickr

Damage on the Jersey Shore - Credit: General Frank Grass via Flickr

Damage on the Jersey Shore – Credit: General Frank Grass via Flickr

Damages caused by Hurricane Sandy were very extensive and many lost their lives due to the storm. Deaths attributed directly to Sandy were estimated at 147, caused by storm surge, flooding and falling trees. Another 87 people died from indirect causes, including hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning. Other deaths were attributed to incidents with debris and car accidents during the clean-up efforts.

National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency assets stage in New York - Credit: General Frank Grass via Flickr

National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency assets stage in New York – Credit: General Frank Grass via Flickr

Damage around New York - Credit: General Frank Grass via Flickr

Damage around New York – Credit: General Frank Grass via Flickr

Thousands of houses and buildings were damaged or completely obliterated and millions were without electricity for weeks. Total damage estimates caused by Sandy exceeded $50 billion, ranking it as the second costliest U.S. hurricane in history, but still far behind Hurricane Katrina. Katrina’s price tag was two and a half times greater than Sandy’s, totaling in at $125 billion.

A damaged fence at Outer Island after Hurricane Sandy  - Credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region via Flickr

A damaged fence at Outer Island after Hurricane Sandy – Credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region via Flickr

Sandy by the Numbers

Below is a glance at some of the numbers that figured into Sandy being one of the worst storms in modern American history:

  • $69,000,000,000: Sandy’s total estimated economic impact across the Caribbean, U.S., and Canada.
  • $30,000,000,000: Sandy’s estimated economic impact in New Jersey alone!
  • 8,000,000+: Power customers that lost electricity at some point due to Sandy, covering 17 states.
  • 19,729: Flights cancelled along the East Coast ahead of, and after, Sandy’s landfall.
  • 1000: Diameter, in miles, of the tropical-storm force winds (39-73 mph) associated with Sandy before just landfall in New Jersey.
  • 940: The lowest pressure, in millibars, that Sandy reached during its life-cycle.
  • 286: Estimated number of deaths attributable, directly and indirectly, to Sandy in the Caribbean, U.S., and Canada.
  • 140: Highest wind gust, in mph, measured from Sandy, on Mount Washington, NH.
  •  115: Highest sustained wind speed, in mph, recorded in Sandy while it was moving toward eastern Cuba, making it a Category 3 hurricane.
  • 95.5: Highest U.S. coastal wind gust, in mph, from Sandy, in Eatons Neck, NY.
  • 36: Snowfall total, in inches, reported in both Richwood, W. VA, and Wolf Laurel Mt., NC.
  • 24: Number of aircraft reconnaissance missions flown in and around Sandy.
  • 23: Height of waves, in feet, in southern Lake Huron due to Sandy’s winds.
  • 20: Percent higher the storm surge was along the Eastern U.S., due to the full moon.
  • 12.83: Heaviest rainfall, in inches, that fell from Sandy, near Bellevue, MD.
  • 12.65: Highest storm surge, in feet, measured at King’s Point, NY, located at the western end of Long Island.
  • 3: Number of days Broadway was shut down due to Sandy’s wrath. The musical mecca was shut down for one day in 2011 due to Hurricane Irene.
  • 2: Number of days the New York Stock Exchange was closed.
  • 1: The chance, in years out of 700 years, that the Northeastern U.S. would ever experience a storm like Sandy.

As you’d expect with a monster storm of this size and magnitude, “Sandy” has been retired from the list of North Atlantic hurricane names. At least it can be said there will never be another Sandy… if by name only.

Credit: andreasilenzi via Flickr

Credit: andreasilenzi via Flickr

The effects of Sandy are still being felt as the recovery process is still underway. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected – stay strong!

 

Stay Safe. Know Before™.

-The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

Post written with the help of WeatherBug Sr. Meteorologist John Bateman & WeatherBug’s Luke Paris.

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