Hurricane Sandy Becomes A Part Of History
Of all the storms that have rocked the United States, none will have made more of an impact than Hurricane Sandy. Even though she never really got beyond Category 1 status, her sheer size and course impacted the lives of over 60 million Americans across the eastern seaboard and northeastern states.
Sandy was a storm that left forecasters scratching their heads, because they had no idea what to do with her, and she sideswiped her way up the east coast, finally slamming ashore near New Jersy, crippling power, communication, and infrastructure throughout the most densely populated area of the country. It singlehandedly reshaped the New Jersey coast and washed many of its historic locations, including the famed boardwalk into the ocean.
Sandy made landfall and merged with two other weather systems, including a blast of colder air coming in from Canada. She looked less like a hurricane and more like a nor’easter as time went by, and before it was over, more than 50 were dead and countless homes damaged and destroyed. It is safe to say that damage costs will end up totaling in the billions. The level of damage sustained ensures that Sandy’s name will be brought up decades from now.
No doubt that Sandy was one for the record books, with high water marks that are normally measured in fractions of an inch suddenly being measured in feet during Sandy’s onslaught, and record high tides being broken by more than three feet when the measuring station was washed away by a 20-foot surf. The water was still rising at that point.
Sandy’s sustained winds reached 89 mph, toppling infrastructure to a level never before seen, disrupting cellular communications across the region, and causing coastal flooding that may take months to fully recover from. The rain was another factor, with rainfall amounts of 10 inches or more reported across much of the area.
If there is a silver lining, it is that computer models did a very good job of pegging the storm’s performance more than a week in advance, allowing warnings to go out as early as last Tuesday, almost a week before the storm’s arrival. Hopefully, this will mean continued advances in computer technology that will increase warning times even more in years to come.
By developing these computer modeling techniques to their fullest capacity, there is an opportunity to save lives that may have otherwise been lost. If there is any good that can come from this historic storm, may that be it.