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Hurricane Sandy
Category 3 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Sandy Oct 25 2012 0400Z.JPG
Hurricane Sandy near peak intensity on October 25, 2012
Formed October 22, 2012[1]
Dissipated October 31, 2012[1]
(extratropical after October 29[1])
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 115 mph (185 km/h)
Lowest pressure 940 mbar (hPa); 27.76 inHg
Fatalities 147 direct, 138 indirect (285 total)
Damage ≥ $75 billion (2012 USD)
(Second-costliest hurricane in US history[1])
Areas affected Greater Antilles, Bahamas, most of the eastern United States (especially the coastal Mid-Atlantic States), Bermuda, eastern Canada
Part of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record in terms of size, as well as the second costliest tropical cyclone in United States history. The eighteenth named storm, tenth hurricane,[nb 1] and second major hurricane[nb 2] of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season,[nb 3] Sandy developed from a tropical wave in the southwestern Caribbean Sea on October 22. Initially a tropical depression, it headed southward and strengthened into Tropical Storm Sandy later that day. Thereafter, Sandy re-curved north-northeastward. Continuing to intensify, the storm was upgraded to a hurricane on October 24. Several hours later, it made landfall near Kingston, Jamaica with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). Upon re-emerging into the Caribbean Sea, Sandy significantly intensified, becoming a Category 3 hurricane early on October 25. Around that time, the storm made another landfall near Santiago de Cuba, Cuba with winds of 115 mph (185 km/h). The storm weakened slightly over the island and was a Category 2 hurricane when it emerged into the southwestern Atlantic Ocean on October 25. Later that day, Sandy curved north-northwestward and crossed through the Bahamas, passing between Long Island and Great Exuma. Early on October 26, it moved between Cat Island and Eleuthera while weakening to a Category 1 hurricane. After moving back into the open Atlantic, Sandy briefly weakened to a tropical storm on October 27, before re-strengthening into a hurricane later that day. Thereafter, the storm began losing tropical characteristics, namely the expanding wind field, which would later span a diameter of 1,100 miles (1,800 km). However, because the storm crossed the Gulf Stream, it re-intensified while heading northeastward, briefly becoming a Category 2 on October 29. Turning northwestward, Sandy weakened back to a Category 1 hurricane six hours later, but the minimum barometric pressure decreased to 940 mbar (28 inHg) around that time. Later on October 29, Sandy transitioned into an extratropical cyclone while located offshore New Jersey, shortly before moving inland near Brigantine.

In Jamaica, there was 1 fatality and damage to thousands of homes, resulting in about $100 million in losses. Significant impact occurred in Cuba. In the province of Santiago de Cuba alone, 132,733 homes were damaged, of which 15,322 were destroyed and 43,426 lost their roof. The storm resulted in 11 deaths and $2 billion in damage in Cuba. It also produced widespread devastation in Haiti, where over 27,000 homes were flooded, damaged, or destroyed, and 40% of the corn, beans, rice, banana, and coffee crops were lost. The storm left $750 million in damage, 54 deaths, and 21 people missing. In the Southeastern United States, such as in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, impact was limited to gusty winds, light rainfall, and rough surf. In the Northeastern United States, damage was most severe in New Jersey and New York. Within the former, 346,000 houses were damaged or destroyed, while nearly 19,000 businesses suffered severe losses. In New York, an estimated 305,000 homes were destroyed. Severe coastal flooding occurred in New York City, with the hardest hit areas being New Dorp Beach, Red Hook, and Long Island City; eight tunnels of the subway systems were inundated. Heavy snowfall was also reported, peaking at 36 inches (910 mm) in West Virginia. Additionally, the remnants of Sandy left 2 deaths and $100 million in damage in Canada, with Ontario and Quebec being the worst impacted. Overall, 286 fatalities were attributed to Sandy. The outerbands of Sandy impacted the island of Bermuda, with a tornado in Sandys Parish damaging a few homes and businesses. Damages totaled $65 billion in the United States and $68 billion overall, making Sandy the second-costliest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, behind only Hurricane Katrina.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

A tropical wave emerged into the Atlantic Ocean from the west coast of Africa on October 11. Due to moderate westerly shear, the system remained disorganized while traversing the Atlantic and much of the Caribbean Sea. However, upon reaching the southwestern Caribbean Sea, favorable conditions allowed it to develop into Tropical Depression Eighteen at 1200 UTC on October 22, while located about 350 miles (560 km) south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica. Six hours later, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Sandy, due to increasing deep convection and an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft reported of tropical storm force winds. Slow further intensification occurred while the storm began re-curving north-northeastward. Early on October 24, Hurricane Hunter aircraft data indicated that an eye feature was developing, which soon became visible on satellite imagery. As a result, Sandy was upgraded to a hurricane at 1200 UTC, while located about 90 miles (140 km) south of Kingston, Jamaica. About seven hours later, the storm made landfall in Bull Bay, Jamaica – located about midway between Kingston and South Haven – with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h).[1]

Late on October 24, the storm re-emerged into the Caribbean Sea along the north coast of Jamaica. Thereafter, warm sea surface temperatures in the Cayman Trench caused the storm to significantly intensify, becoming a Category 2 hurricane early on the following day. Early on October 25, Sandy attained its maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 km/h), reported by an Air Force Reserve flight. At 0525 UTC, the storm made landfall near Santiago de Cuba in the Santiago de Cuba Province of Cuba at the same intensity. Sandy moved across the island in 5 hours and weakened slightly during its passage. It emerged into the southwestern Atlantic Ocean south of Ragged Island, Bahamas on October 25. The storm then weakened further due to strong southwesterly shear. Shortwave ridging over the western Atlantic and a negatively tilted upper-level trough caused it to gradually turn northwestward and the storm then moved through the Bahamas. Late on October 25, Sandy passed between Long Island and Great Exuma. Early on the following day, the storm weakened to a Category 1 hurricane, shortly before moving between Cat Island and Eleuthera.[1]

After moving away from the Bahamas, Sandy weakened to a tropical storm at 0000 UTC on October 27, though the wind field had roughly double in size since the storm had emerged off the north coast of Cuba. Sandy gradually curved northeastward and began to accelerate in advance of a mid-tropospheric trough over the central United States. At 1200 UTC on October 27, the storm re-strengthened into a hurricane while located about 145 miles (235 km) north-northeast of Great Abaco in the Bahamas. However, the structure of Sandy had become "quite unusual", with the storm's strongest winds spanning a 115 miles (185 km) radius. While passing hundreds of miles offshore North Carolina, microwave satellite imagery indicated a possible eye feature developing. The storm re-strengthened due to warm waters over the Gulf Stream, becoming a Category 2 hurricane at 1200 UTC on October 29. Six hours later, the storm weakened to a Category 1 hurricane, but attained its minimum barometric pressure of 940 mbar (28 inHg). At 1900 UTC on October 29, Sandy transitioned into an extratropical cyclone, while located about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The extratropical remnants continued northwestward and made landfall near Brigantine, New Jersey with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h) at 2330 UTC on October 29. It moved west-northwestward across New Jersey and Pennsylvania, before dissipating over northeastern Ohio on October 31.[1]


Greater Antilles[edit]

Tropical cyclone warnings and watches were posted as Sandy approached Jamaica. At 1500 UTC on October 22, a tropical storm watch was issued for the entire island. The tropical storm watch was upgraded to a tropical storm warning at 0900 UTC on the following day. Simultaneously, a hurricane watch was issued for the island. Later on October 23, the tropical storm warning was increased to a hurricane warning. Around that time, the hurricane watch was discontinued. At 0900 UTC on October 25, the hurricane warning was also canceled.[1] Acting Prime Minister Peter Phillips urged people to take this storm seriously. In preparation of the storm, many residents stocked up on supplies and reinforced roofing material. Government officials shut down schools and government buildings prior to the arrival of Sandy. Meanwhile, numerous curfews, lasting up to 48 hours in major towns, were put in place to protect residents, properties, and to prevent crime.[3] Authorities also closed the island's international airports. Cruise ships also changed their itineraries to avoid the storm. More than 1,000 people went to shelters, according to the Office of Disaster Preparedness.[4] Catholic Relief Services pre-positioned relief supplies and prepared staff for damage assessments and restoring communications.[5]

At 0900 UTC on October 23, a tropical storm watch was issued for Haiti. Nine hours later, it was upgraded to a tropical storm warning. Haiti remained until the tropical storm warning until it was discontinued at 1500 UTC on October 25.[1] The Haitian National Red Cross Society activated sound trucks to convey warning messages. Emergency response teams were placed on stand by and prepared to distributed emergency supplies to up to 11,000 families.[6] According to a tweet from the Civil Protection, every department of Haiti was under a red alert by late on October 24.[7]

In Dominican Republic, every province was under a level of alert. Nine provinces were issued a red alert, including Azua, Baoruco, Barahona, Dajabón, Elías Piña, Independencia, Monte Cristi, San Juan, and Pedernales. Another nine provinces – Duarte, La Vega, Monseñor Nouel, Peravia, San Cristóbal, San José de Ocoa, Sánchez Ramírez, Santiago Rodríguez, and Valverde – were placed under a yellow alert. The remaining 14 provinces were placed under a green alert – Distrito Nacional, El Seibo, Espaillat, Hato Mayor, Hermanas Mirabal, La Altagracia, La Romana, María Trinidad Sánchez, Monte Plata, Puerto Plata, Samaná, San Pedro de Macorís, Santiago, and Santo Domingo.[8]

The Government of Cuba issued a hurricane watch at 1500 UTC on October 23, from Camagüey Province eastward to Guantánamo Province. Six hours later, the hurricane watch was upgraded to a hurricane warning. At 1500 UTC on October 25, the hurricane warning was cancelled.[1] Prior to the storm, more than 1,200 Civil Defense units in Cuba evacuated over 340,000 people. Most of them stayed with family and friends, while approximately 14,349 people sought shelter at 432 evacuation centers.[9]

United States[edit]

Forecast track of Sandy striking the Mid-Atlantic as a hurricane or extratropical cyclone of equivalent intensity. Notice the lack of warnings and watches north of North Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center began issuing tropical cyclone warnings and watches at 0900 UTC on October 24, with a tropical storm watch in Florida from the Jupiter Inlet to Craig Key. Three hours later, the portion south of Ocean Reef was discontinued. At 1500 UTC on October 24, the tropical storm watch was extended northward to the BrevardVolusia county line. About six hours later, the tropical storm watch was extended further north to Flagler Beach. Simultaneously, a tropical storm warning was issued from Deerfield Beach to the Sebastian Inlet. At 0300 UTC on October 25, a tropical storm warning was posted for Lake Okeechobee. Approximately six hours later, the tropical storm watch from Craig Key to Flagler Beach was extended northward to Fernandina Beach. A separate tropical storm watch was issued from the mouth of the Savannah River in South Carolina to the Oregon Inlet in North Carolina at 0900 UTC on October 26. Six hours later, the a portion of the tropical storm watch from Ocean Reef to Craig Key was discontinued.[1]

The tropical storm warning along the east coast of Florida from Deerfield Beach to Flagler Beach was extended further north to St. Augustine at 2100 UTC on October 26, and discontinued for Lake Okeechobee. Simultaneously, a separate tropical storm warning was posted from the mouth of the Santee River in South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina. Early on October 27, the tropical storm warning in Florida was discontinued south of the Jupiter Inlet. Several hours later, the tropical storm warning was condensed again and was not in effect for areas south of Sebastian Inlet. At 1500 UTC on October 27, the tropical storm watch was cancelled from St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach. Simultaneously, the tropical storm warning from Sebastian Inlet to St. Augustine was also discontinued. At 0300 UTC on October 28, the tropical storm watch from the Savannah River to the Santee River was discontinued. Six hours later, the tropical storm warning from the mouth of the Santee River to Duck was condensed to include only from the latter location to Cape Fear. The tropical storm warning was condensed again at 2100 UTC and now covered from Surf City to Duck. By 2100 UTC on October 29, all tropical cyclone warnings and watches in the United States were cancelled.[1]

White House conference with FEMA and Department of Homeland Security in preparation for arrival of the hurricane.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there was a 90% chance that the East Coast of the United States would experience gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and possibly snow early in the week of October 28 from an unusual hybrid of Hurricane Sandy and a winter storm producing a Fujiwhara effect.[10] Jim Cisco of the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center coined the term "Frankenstorm", as Sandy was expected to merge with a storm front a few days before Halloween.[11][12][13] As coverage continued, several media outlets began eschewing this term in favor of "superstorm".[14][15] Utilities and governments along the East Coast attempted to head off long-term power failures Sandy might cause. Power companies from the Southeast to New England alerted independent contractors to be ready to help repair storm damaged equipment quickly and asked employees to cancel vacations and work longer hours. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, using a computer model built on power outage data from previous hurricanes, conservatively forecast that 10 million customers along the Eastern Seaboard would lose power from the storm.[16]

President Obama discusses preparations for Hurricane Sandy

Through regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) monitored Sandy, closely coordinating with state and tribal emergency management partners in Florida and the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and New England states.[17] President Barack Obama signed emergency declarations on October 28 for several states expected to be impacted by Sandy – including Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, as well as Washington, D.C. – allowing them to request federal aid and make additional preparations in advance of the storm.[18] Flight cancellations and travel alerts on the U.S. East Coast were put in place in the Mid-Atlantic and the New England areas.[19] Over 5,000 commercial airline flights scheduled for October 28 and October 29 were canceled by the afternoon of October 28[20] and Amtrak canceled some services through October 29 in preparation for the storm.[21] In addition, the National Guard and U.S. Air Force put as many as 45,000 personnel in at least seven states on alert for possible duty in response to the preparations and aftermath of Sandy.[22]


United States[edit]


Water and sand covering Florida State Road A1A in Fort Lauderdale

Large waves pummeled the east coast of Florida, resulting in significant beach erosion and some coastal flooding.[23] Additionally, gusty winds in South Florida caused at least 7,290 power outages according to Florida Power & Light. At the Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport combined, at least 66 flights were canceled.[24] Coastal flooding was mostly minor in Miami-Dade County, limited to a few roads with ponding of water. Further north in Broward County, State Road A1A was inundated with sand and a few feet of water between Fort Lauderdale, mainly between Las Olas Boulevard and Northeast 20th Street. This stretch of road was closed for a few days, along with a few others, isolating some neighborhoods; a few homes also sustained water damage.[23] In Palm Beach County, several structures experienced coastal flood impacts, particularly in Manalapan, where beachfront houses and buildings were threatened by water intrusion; the Lake Worth Pier also sustained damage.[23] Further north in East Central Florida, many beaches in the region sustained moderate to major erosion. In Martin County, two homes and several piers, boardwalks, and retaining walls were damaged. Waves and sand washed across beach parking lots and damaged the foundation of a pump system in St. Lucie County. Beach erosion and wave action spewed sand and debris across roads in Brevard and Indian River counties, which temporarily left residents isolated. Further, boat ramps, lifeguard towers, and a number of beach crossovers were damaged, while 17 structures were threatened by erosion in the former. Sand and debris washed across a coastal highway, Beach erosion was minor in Volusia County, limited to a few dune walker-overs and a boat ramp.[25] Damage in Florida reached approximately $60 million.[26]

A temporary bridge constructed near Cape Hatteras

Because the storm remained well offshore, impact in Georgia was minimal. A few locations along the coast reported tropical storm force winds, especially near the Georgia-South Carolina state line. In Fort Pulaski, gusts reached 40 mph (64 km/h). At the same location, storm surge peaked at 2.89 feet (0.88 m), while tides in the rest of the state were 1 to 2 feet (0.30 to 0.61 m) above normal. In South Carolina, minor coastal flooding and moderate to severe beach erosion occurred due to a storm surge of 3.55 feet (1.08 m) in Beaufort County and tides ranging from 1 to 2 feet (0.30 to 0.61 m) above normal. At the Isle of Palms, erosion was severe, with a total loss of sand dunes and several piers.[1]

In North Carolina, storm surge ranging from 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 m) lashed the Outer Banks and portions of the Pamlico Sound. The highest storm tide, 6.95 feet (2.12 m) was recorded at Duck. The highest storm surge of 3.94 feet (1.20 m) was measured in Hatteras. A NWS storm surge team estimated the highest surge, 8.5 feet at Buxton. Coastal flooding damage occurred near the intersection of U.S. 158 and Highway 12 in Kitty Hawk, with a portion of the latter being destroyed. Thus, the Kitty Hawk area became inaccessible. Also, 58 homes were left uninhabitable, with 8 completely destroyed from Hatteras north to Rodanthe. Another $1 million in losses was estimated from wind damage. The highest sustained wind was 59 mph (95 km/h) and strongest wind gust of 73 mph (117 km/h) were both recorded at Jennettes Pier in Nags Head. Strong winds left about 126,000 people without electricity. Along Outer Banks, Dare County reported over 8 inches (200 mm) of precipitation. Coastal flood damages were estimated near $13 million.




Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent areas before and after Hurricane Sandy

In Delaware, damages were mainly due to coastal flooding caused by storm tides, while rainfall up to 10 in (250 mm) resulted in inland flooding. In addition, high winds resulted in many trees and wires coming down statewide. This resulted in 100,000 power outages and many road closures due to downed trees and flooding. Throughout New Castle County, there were about 35 roads closures, most of them near the Delaware Bay, including Route 9. Dozens of trees were uprooted in Wilmington. In Upper Delaware Bay and tidal sections of the Delaware River, some moderate coastal flooding was reported. The largest high tide observed was at Reedy Point, which reached 9.1 ft (2.8 m) above mean lower low water. Heavy rainfall knocked over shallow-rooted trees and compounded with the tidal flooding.[26]

In Kent County, dunes withstood the tide and wave action. Nevertheless, both Kitts Hummock and Bower Beach lost several feet of sand and cliffs as high 4 ft (1.2 m). Woodland Beach was flooded. About 40 roads were closed because of inundation or high wind. In Sussex County, the highest tides reached 12 ft (3.7 m) at Bethany Beach. Route 1 south of Dewey Beach remained closed until November 4 due to 4 to 6 ft (1.2 to 1.8 m) of sand onto the roadway. During the height of the storm, Rehoboth and Dewey Beach were under water, while Prime Hook Beach was also inaccessible. Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island were hit the hardest along the coast. Tidal flooding also closed several roadways in Oak Orchard starting on October 28. Trees were uprooted in Georgetown and a roof collapsed in Greenwood. About 40 roadways were closed in the county and two roads were expected to be closed indefinitely. In the Lower Delaware Bay, moderate tidal flooding occurred during the high tide cycle late on October 28. Overall, damage in Delaware totaled $5.5 million.[26]


West Virginia[edit]


The remnants of Sandy, combined with a cold front and lake enhanced showers, brought 0.75 to 2 in (19 to 51 mm) of rainfall and flooding to northern portions of Ohio. The Grand River at Painesville peaked at 13.0 ft (4.0 m) in height. Some low-lying roads, including one that is highly trafficked, was shutdown. Only minor property damage occurred, limited primarily to flooded basements. Areal flooding was limited to more northern counties. Numerous roads were closed due to flooding over Cuyahoga, Lake, and Medina counties. A few dozen homes and businesses were impacted as water inundated basements or first floors. Two rivers along Lake Erie reached major flood stage, the Cuyahoga and the Huron, while other tributaries of the lake saw minor or moderate flooding. Further west in Elyri, the Black River overflowed its banks, inundating Cascade Park, with water approaching the maintenance facilities. Along the south shore of Lake Erie, a 2–3 ft (0.61–0.91 m) storm surge and 15 to 20 ft (4.6 to 6.1 m) waves were observed. According to the Coast Guard, 118 vessels were either sunk or significantly damaged. Beach erosion was reported at numerous locations along the lake, with sanding washing across roadways in Port Clinton. Throughout the state, strong winds left over 250,000 people without electrical service, which was not restored in some areas for over a week.[26]

Greater Cleveland was particularly hard hit by this storm, with many area schools closed for two days and air traffic being stopped at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport from late on October 29 to around noon on October 30. Strong winds were observed, with gusts up to 67 mph (108 km/h) at the same location. Significant wind damage included the siding torn off the exterior of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Due to storm surge and waves along the south shore of Lake Erie, water crashed over the break wall and onto Interstate 90 on the east side of Cleveland for several hours. Area marinas sustained damage with reports of many personal watercraft submerged and additional boats drifting out into the lake. Further south along the Cuyahoga River, the river crested at 18.5 ft (5.6 m) in Independence. An estimated 20 homes had about 3–4 feet (0.91–1.22 m) of water, while some basements were inundated by as much as 6–7 ft (1.8–2.1 m).[26]

New Jersey[edit]

Damage to Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey

The highest storm surge measured in New Jersey was 8.57 feet (2.61 m) at the northern end of Sandy Hook. However, because the station equipment later failed, it is likely that the storm surge was higher. The next highest storm surges were at Atlantic City and Cape May, with tide gauges measuring 5.82 feet (1.77 m) and 5.16 feet (1.57 m), respectively. The highest inundation occurred in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, with water approximately 4–9 feet (1.2–2.7 m) above the ground, with the high-water mark 8.9 feet (2.7 m) above the ground at the Sandy Hook Coast Guard Station. As storm surge from Sandy was pushed into New York and Raritan Bays, sea water piled up within the Hudson River and the coastal waterways and wetlands of northeastern New Jersey, including Newark Bay, the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers, Kill Van Kull, and Arthur Kill. Significant inundations occurred along the Hudson River in Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City, where many high-water marks were 4 and 6.5 feet (1.2 and 2.0 m) above ground level. Barrier islands were almost completely inundated in some areas, and breached in some cases, due to storm surge and large waves from the Atlantic Ocean meeting up with rising waters from back bays such as Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor. High-water marks were 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) above ground level were reported at several locations in Ocean County. Farther south, measured inundations were as high as 2 to 4 feet (0.61 to 1.22 m) in areas near Atlantic City and Cape May.

Damage in Mantoloking

Sandy spared few parts of the central and northern New Jersey coast. The damage in the community of Mantoloking highlights the severity of the storm surge and waves across this region. A majority of structures there were flooded, badly damaged, or destroyed. The surge even carved a path through the barrier island, creating two new inlets. In Seaside Heights, the iconic Casino Pier and Funtown Pier were destroyed; the loss of the latter of caused the destruction of the local amusement park. Long Beach Island, a barrier island offshore of the central New Jersey coast, suffered catastrophic damage with nearly every house on the seaside shore extensively damaged. The communities of Union Beach and Sea Bright witnessed similar devastation. The storm surge also pushed water into New York Bay and up the Hudson River, causing massive flooding in Jersey City. The surge into Raritan Bay forced water up the Raritan River that resulted in flooding in nearby Sayreville. About half of the city of Hoboken was reportedly flooded, leaving at least 20,000 residents isolated. The community center in Hoboken, its public works garage, three or four fire houses, and more than 1,700 homes were flooded, with damage in the town estimated to be well over $100 million. In Salem County, the nuclear power plant automatically shut down when 4 of its 6 pumps failed. The rail operations center of the New Jersey Transit Authority in Kearny was flooded by up to 7 feet (2.1 m) of water, damaging as many as 74 locomotives and 294 rail cars, and several weeks passed before rail services resumed.

An aerial view of damage along the coast of New Jersey

Sandy’s storm surge, in addition to large and battering waves, devastated large portions of the coasts of New Jersey and New York. In fact, the extent of catastrophic damage along the New Jersey coast was unprecedented in the state’s history, with the brunt of it occurring in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Whole communities were inundated by water and sand, houses were washed from their foundations, boardwalks were dismantled or destroyed, cars were tossed about, and boats were pushed well inland from the coast. About 5 million residences lost electrical power across this region, with power outages commonly lasting for several weeks. The New Jersey Governor’s office estimates that 346,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed in that state, with 22,000 of those units uninhabitable. Severe damage to small businesses occurred in New Jersey, with nearly 19,000 businesses sustaining damage of $250,000 or more, and total business losses estimated at $8.3 billion. The New Jersey Public Service Electric and Gas Company estimated that 48,000 trees had to be removed or trimmed in order to restore power. Breaks in natural gas lines, occurring as a result of the storm, caused fires in some locations, resulting in the destruction of many residences. Power and gas line repairs are expected to cost roughly $1 billion and repairs to the waste, water and sewer services are estimated to cost about $3 billion. Damage to transportation in the state was approximately $2.9 billion. Overall, losses in New Jersey reached about $29.4 billion and there were 37 fatalities.

New York[edit]

New England[edit]

Precipitation in Connecticut was light, peaking at 1.63 inches (41 mm) in New Milford. The storm produced strong winds in the state, with gusts as high as 70 mph (110 km/h) reported in rural Litchfield County. Across the state of Connecticut, about 640,000 people lost power.[26] Severe coastal flooding and erosion occurred due to storm surge exceeding 9 feet (2.7 m), including heights of 9.83 feet (3.00 m) and 9.14 feet (2.79 m) observed at Bridgeport and New Haven, respectively. Fairfield and New Haven Counties were flooded with 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 m) of water along the shores of Long Island Sound, while Middlesex and New London Counties were inundated along the coast by 3 to 5 feet (0.91 to 1.52 m) above ground level. Approximately 3,000 houses were damaged to varying degrees.[1] Overall, the impact from Sandy in Connecticut resulted in 5 deaths and at least $360 million in damage.[26]

Rhode Island also sustained serious impact. Strong wind gusts were reported in the state, reaching 86 mph (138 km/h) in Westerly.[26] As a result, there were at least 122,000 people left without electricity in the state.[27] Storm surge peaked at 6.2 feet (1.9 m) in Providence.[1] Major coastal flooding was reported along the coast, with 3 to 5 feet (0.91 to 1.52 m) of water inundation. Destruction from storm tides in Block Island, Charlestown, Narragansett, South Kingstown, and Westerly were comparable to Hurricane Bob in 1991.[26]

In Vermont, the fringes of Sandy produced relatively strong winds across the state. Wind gusts were generally between 40 and 60 mph (64 and 97 km/h), with the strongest gust being 72 mph (116 km/h) at the summit of Mount Mansfield. These winds downed trees and power lines, leaving about 35,000 residents without electricity. Rainfall was generally less than 1 inch (25 mm), with a peak of 2.07 inches (53 mm) in Woodford.[26]


The 180 feet (55 m) sailing ship, Bounty, is shown nearly submerged during Hurricane Sandy on Monday, October 29, 2012.

The United States Coast Guard responded to a distress call from Bounty on October 29, which was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty; it began sinking while located about 90 miles (140 km) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The 16 people on board abandoned ship before it sunk and got into 2 lifeboats, wearing survival suits and life jackets. The Coast Guard rescued 14 people, though crew member Claudene Christian later died and Captain Robin Walbridge was left missing.[28] A search for Walbridge was conducted by the Coast Guard and lasted more than 90 hours, covering approximately 13,810 square miles (35,800 km2). After the search was suspended on November 1,[29] Captain Walbridge was presumed to have drowned.[1]

Owing to the sheer size of the storm, Sandy also impacted Bermuda with high winds and heavy rains. On October 28, a weak F0 tornado touched down in Sandys Parish, damaging homes and businesses.[30] During a three-day span, the storm produced 0.98 in (25 mm) of rain at the L.F. Wade International Airport. October 29, the strongest sustained winds speed of 37 mph (60 km/h) and gusts up to 58 mph (93 km/h) were observed, which produced scattered minor damage.[31]

In Canada, strong winds damaged homes and businesses, ripped shingles off roofs,[32] and left at least 208,000 households lost power.[33][34][35] One woman was killed after being struck by a Staples Inc. sign, in the Junction neighborhood of Toronto.[36][37] Streetcar wires along several routes were torn down in Toronto.[38] Hundreds of flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport, Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport,[39] and Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport had also been cancelled.[34] Additionally, an F0 tornado in Mont-Laurier caused minimal damage.[40] The Emerald Princess, a cruise ship carrying 3,780 passengers and 1,200 crew members, sought shelter at Saguenay, Quebec; it was the largest ship ever to have docked at Saguenay.[41] Damage in Canada totaled approximately $100 million.[32]


United States[edit]

The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq reopened on October 31 after a two-day closure for storm.[42] More than 1,500 FEMA personnel were along the East Coast working to support disaster preparedness and response operations, including search and rescue, situational awareness, communications and logistical support. In addition, 28 teams containing 294 FEMA Corps members were pre-staged to support Sandy responders. Three federal urban search and rescue task forces were positioned in the Mid-Atlantic and ready to deploy as needed.[43]

Several organizations contributed to hurricane relief efforts. Disney–ABC Television Group held a "Day of Giving" on Monday, November 5, which raised $17 million on their television stations for the American Red Cross.[44] News Corporation donated $1 million to relief efforts in the New York metropolitan area.[45]

By November 2, the American Red Cross had 4,000 disaster workers across stormdamaged areas, with thousands more en route from other states. Nearly 7,000 people spent the night in emergency shelters across the region.[46] Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, was a live telethon on November 2 that featured rock and pop stars such as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Mary J. Blige, Sting and Christina Aguilera. It raised around $23 million for American Red Cross hurricane relief efforts.[47] The 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City and featured various artists including The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Roger Waters, Chris Martin, Michael Stipe, Kanye West, Eddie Vedder, Paul McCartney, and the surviving members of NirvanaDave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear.[48][49] The relief concert raised approximately $30 million from ticket sales alone.[50]

Government response and political impact[edit]

Between October 30 and December 19, 2012, disaster declarations were approved by President Obama in 11 states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia – as well as Washington, D.C. [1]

Sandy struck the Northeastern United States about one week before the United States elections of 2012. The storm was thought to have altered public opinions, particularly in regards to the the presidential election between incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Additionally, it was feared that early voting turnout would be suppressed due to impassable roads and lack of electricity. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also received criticism for its slow response in some states severely impacted by the storm. In January 2013, the Hurricane Sandy relief bill also became controversial due to federal spending involved.

Hurricane Sandy's storm surge and unusual northwest turn toward the East Coast of the United States was attributed to global warming by several professional scientists. NCAR senior climatologist Kevin E. Trenberth quipped, "All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be."[51] However, NOAA meteorologist Martin Hoerling attributes Sandy to "little more than the coincidental alignment of a tropical storm with an extratropical storm",[52] Trenberth agrees that the storm was caused by "natural variability", but adds that it was "enhanced by global warming".[53] One factor contributing to the storm's strength was abnormally warm waters offshore the East Coast of the United States.[53] As the temperature of the atmosphere increases, the capacity to hold water increases, leading to stronger storms and higher rainfall amounts.[53] Atlantic hurricanes are typically forced out to sea by the jet stream's prevailing winds,[54] though Sandy was blocked by a ridge of high pressure over Greenland resulting in a negative North Atlantic Oscillation. A kink formed in the jet stream as a result, allowing the storm to re-curve toward the East Coast of the United States; this was caused by the melting of Arctic ice, according to Mark Fischetti of Scientific American.[55] Despite this, Trenberth noted that the null hypothesis remained that this was just the natural variability of weather.[52] Sea level at New York and along the New Jersey coast has increased by nearly a foot over the last hundred years,[56] which contributed to the storm surge.[57] Harvard geologist Daniel P. Schrag noted that the 13 ft (4.0 m) storm surge will become the "new norm on the Eastern seaboard" by the mid-21st century.[58] However, Weather Underground founder Dr. Jeffrey Masters later suggested that climate change might actually reduce the probability of a similar storm.[59]


Because of the exceptional damage and deaths caused by the storm in many countries, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name Sandy, and it will never be used again for an Atlantic hurricane. It will be replaced with Sara for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.[60]


  1. ^ A hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (119 km/h).[2]
  2. ^ A major hurricane is a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph (179 km/h), or a Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale.[2]
  3. ^ The Atlantic hurricane season is officially defined as "the portion of the year having a relatively high incidence of hurricanes", which is from June 1 to November 30.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Eric S. Blake, Todd B. Kimberlain, Robert J. Berg, John P. Cangialosi and John L. Beven II (February 12, 2013). Hurricane Sandy: October 22 – 29, 2012 (PDF). National Hurricane Center (Tropical Cyclone Report). Miami, Florida: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Glossary of NHC Terms. National Hurricane Center (Report). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. July 11, 2010. Archived from the original on June28, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2013.  Check date values in: |archive-date= (help)
  3. ^ David McFadden (October 23, 2012). "Jamaica prepares for Tropical Storm Sandy". Associated Press. Kingston, Jamaica. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ Jeff Franks (October 25, 2012). "Hurricane Sandy pounds Jamaica, heads toward Cuba". Reuters. Havana, Cuba. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ Jim Stipe (October 24, 2012). CRS Is Monitoring Hurricane Sandy, Preparing Emergency Response. Catholic Relief Services (Report). Baltimore, Maryland: ReliefWeb. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  6. ^ Tamara Braunstein (October 23, 2012). Tropical Storm Sandy Threatens Caribbean. American Red Cross (Report). ReliefWeb. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  7. ^ Tate Watkins (November 2, 2012). "How Haiti Prepared for Hurricane Sandy With Twitter". Wired. Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  8. ^ (in Spanish) Presidencia De La Republica Centro De Operaciones De Emergencias (PDF) (Report). Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia. October 24, 2012. p. 1. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  9. ^ Seth Galinsky (November 19, 2012). "Hurricane Sandy: Cuba gov’t leads effort to meet needs and rebuild". The Militant. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ Associated Press (October 25, 2012). "Forecasters warn East Coast about 'Frankenstorm' next week; damage could top $1 billion". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  11. ^ Borenstein, Seth. "East Coast braces for monster 'Frankenstorm'". Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  12. ^ Cisco, Jim (25 October 2012). "Extended Forecast Discussion – Issued 1342Z Oct 25, 2012". Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  13. ^ Borenstein, Seth (25 October 2012). "Forecasters warn East Coast about 'Frankenstorm' next week; damage could top $1 billion". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  14. ^ "Hurricane Sandy: Five Reasons It's a Superstorm". Fox News. Associated Press. October 29, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  15. ^ Day, Patrick Kevin (October 26, 2012). "No 'Frankenstorm' for CNN". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-01-13. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  16. ^ Samenow, Jason (2012-10-28). "Cause for concern: the 7 most alarming Hurricane Sandy images". Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  17. ^ Anderson, Lars (2012-10-25). "Closely Monitoring Hurricane Sandy". FEMA. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  18. ^ "It's watch and wait as Hurricane Sandy approaches". 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  19. ^ "Hurricane Sandy wreaks havoc on airline flights". The Wall St. Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  20. ^ "Hurricane Sandy Flight Cancellations: Thousands Of Flights Canceled Due To Storm". 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  21. ^ "Amtrak begins to cancel some service in advance of Hurricane Sandy". Amtrak. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  22. ^ Sullivan, Brian K; Hart, Dan (2012-10-28). "Hurricane Sandy Barrels Northward, May Hit New Jersey". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  23. ^ a b c Hurricane Sandy: October 22–31, 2012. National Weather Service Miami, Florida (Report). Miami, Florida: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. November 30, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Power, Airports Affected By Hurricane Sandy". Miami, Florida: CBS. October 26, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  25. ^ Hurricane Sandy: October 26–27, 2012. National Weather Service Melbourne, Florida (Report). Melbourne, Florida: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. November 30, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rhonda Herndon. Storm Data and Unusual Weather Phenomena: October 2012 (PDF). National Climatic Data Center (Report). Asheville, North Carolina: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. p. 23. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Hurricane Sandy: Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York And More States Recover From Storm". The Huffington Post. Associated Press. November 5, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  28. ^ "1 dead, captain missing after 14 saved as Bounty sinks". USA Today. October 29, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2013.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  29. ^ "Search halted for missing ship captain after 3 days scouring sea off NC; ship sank in Sandy". Bay News 9. Associated Press. November 1, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  30. ^ Hurricane Sandy Spawns a tornado in Bermuda (Report). Bermuda Weather. October 28, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  31. ^ Daily Climatology Written Summary: October 1, 2012 to October 30, 2012 (Report). Bermuda Weather Service. October 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b "Preliminary estimates peg insured damages from "Superstorm" Sandy at $100 million". Yahoo! Finance. November 28, 2012. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Sandy leaves 145,000 Canadians without power, one dead". Reuters. October 30, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b "32,000 still without power in Quebec because of Sandy". CTV Montreal. October 30, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  35. ^ Cite error: The named reference HS was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  36. ^ "Flying debris kills woman amid Toronto storm". CBC News. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Sarnia, Ont., hydro worker dies repairing Sandy damage". CBC News. October 31, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Thousands without power in Toronto, most schools to reopen Wednesday". The Globe and Mail. October 30, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Hurricane Sandy grounds all Porter flights from Toronto's island airport". Metro. Retrieved October 30, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Weak tornado strikes Mont-Laurier, Quebec". The Weather Network. October 31, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Cruise ship takes shelter from Sandy in Saguenay". October 28, 2012. Retrieved June 29, 2012.  Unknown parameter |newpaper= ignored (|newspaper= suggested) (help)
  42. ^ "Superstorm Sandy: 33 Dead and 8 Million Customers Without Power". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  43. ^ "Vicious Superstorm Sandy Smashes U.S. Northeast Cities". Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  44. ^ "ABC raises nearly $17 million for Sandy relief during 'Day of Giving'". New York Port. Associated Press. November 6, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  45. ^ Kenneally, Tim (31 October 2012). "News Corp. Donates $1M to Hurricane Sandy Relief". The Wrap. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  46. ^ "Storm Aftermath: Live Updates". New York Times. October 28, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  47. ^ "Concert to Help Hurricane Sandy Victims Raises $23 Mln". RIA NOVOSTI WEBSITE GROUP. Retrieved May 11, 2013.  line feed character in |publisher= at position 20 (help)
  48. ^ "Paul McCartney to Front Nirvana Reunion at 12-12-12 Concert". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  49. ^ Andy Greene. "Nirvana-Paul McCartney Song Stems From Dave Grohl's 'Sound City' Documentary". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  50. ^ Christopher Zara (December 18, 2012). "12-12-12 Sandy Benefit Concert: How Much Money Was Raised For Storm Victims?". International Business Times. Reuters. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  51. ^ Kevin Trenberth (2012). "Framing the way to relate climate extremes to climate change" (PDF). Climatic Change. 115 (2): 283. doi:10.1007/s10584-012-0441-5.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  52. ^ a b Andrew C. Revkin (October 28, 2012). "The #Frankenstorm in Climate Context". New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  53. ^ a b c Kevin Trenberth (October 29, 2012). "Hurricane Sandy mixes super-storm conditions with climate change". The Conversation. Retrieved May 8, 2013.  line feed character in |title= at position 45 (help)
  54. ^ Jeffrey Masters (October 31, 2012). "Why did Hurricane Sandy take such an unusual track into New Jersey?". Weather Underground. Retrieved May 8, 2013.  line feed character in |title= at position 60 (help); line feed character in |author= at position 8 (help)
  55. ^ Mark Fischetti (October 30, 2012). "Did Climate Change Cause Hurricane Sandy?". Scientific American. Retrieved May 9, 2013.  line feed character in |author= at position 5 (help)
  56. ^ Moises Velasquez-Manoff (November 9, 2006). "How to keep New York afloat". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved May 8, 2013.  line feed character in |author= at position 7 (help)
  57. ^ Bettina Boxall and Neela Banerjee (November 4, 2012). "Sandy a galvanizing moment for climate change?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  58. ^ Edward Mason (November 6, 2012). "Hello again, climate change". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved May 8, 2013.  line feed character in |title= at position 21 (help)
  59. ^ Jeffrey Masters (September 3, 2013). "Why did Hurricane Sandy take such an unusual track into New Jersey?". Weather Underground. Retrieved December 16, 2013.  line feed character in |title= at position 60 (help); line feed character in |author= at position 8 (help)
  60. ^ Sandy retired from list of Atlantic Basin tropical cyclone names (Report). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. April 11, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2013.  line feed character in |publisher= at position 17 (help)