As the waters recede and the winds slightly settle, it becomes quite evident the disaster left in the wake of, now called, Superstorm Sandy, which crashed record breaking 13 foot surge onto the streets of New Jersey and New York. With transit systems halted, bridges, tunnels and schools closed, New York City presents an eerie calm this morning.
A super storm is a subjective term for any storm that is extremely and unusually destructive. The term is often used to describe the 1993 Storm of the Century, which impacted much of eastern North America with varying degrees of destructive weather. In October 2012, super storm “Sandy” hit East Coast causing massive destruction.
New York was among the hardest hit areas. The markets on Wall Street are closed for a second day, which marks the first time since the blizzard of 1888 that the markets were closed due to weather for two consecutive days. The subway system was overtaken by storm surge, and there is uncertainty as to how that will impact the transit system. Millions are left without power throughout the region. Seventeen lives so far are reported lost in the United States as a direct result of the storm, adding to the 69 lives lost in the Caribbean with the earlier landfalls.
This monster storm is a consequence of the merging of two systems to generate a hybrid storm. Generally, a category one hurricane on it’s own would not have the impact that Sandy had, but as the hurricane merged with an appoaching cold front, pressures dropped generating more power in the storm itself.
With a pressure at 940 milibars just before landfall and windspeeds at 90 mph, Hurricane Sandy was a large and intense storm at impact. The lower than normal pressure of the storm helped drive surge into New York City at close to high tide, which is a worst case scenario for that just at sea level city with much of its infrastructure below ground. Already, President Obama has declared Long Island and New York City a major disaster, which frees up additional government resources for those areas hardest hit.
As the remnants of the storm continue to make its way through the northeast, dangers of flooding are still imminent. Although it is only a remnant low of once Hurricane Sandy, there is a significant swath of winds and drenching rains are still associated with the storm. Unfortunately, its collision with a cold front added an element of blizzard on the opposite side of the storm, and now a threat of severe weather lingers, as the superstorm could spawn tornadoes in the northeast. Wind and cold temperatures continue to inundate the south, including Georgia, as the system pulls eastward, with the mercury dipping well below the normal for this time of year.
Updates from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center regarding remnants of Sandy
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