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5th Anniversary of Sandy

Causing an estimated $70.2 billion in damage, Sandy is the second costliest weather disaster in the U.S. behind Hurricane Katrina (note that the damage from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria are still being assessed). There were 70 fatalities in the Northeast, with 48 of those in New York. The death toll including Virginia was 72, which is “the greatest number of U.S. direct fatalities related to a tropical cyclone outside of the southern states since Hurricane Agnes of 1972.”

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Damage in Mantoloking, NJ, due to Sandy. Click image to enlarge. Credit - USGS/Greg Thompson, USFWS

Sandy made landfall along the New Jersey coast near Atlantic City on October 29, 2012. Sandy’s storm surge arrived at high tide, producing record-high water levels at several coastal sites from Maryland to Massachusetts, as well as along the Delaware River at Philadelphia, PA, and the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, NY. The storm churned up large waves, with offshore wave heights up to 32.5 feet. The large waves and high water levels breached dunes, caused devastating flooding and damage, and severely eroded shorelines.

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Maximum depth of water on the land due to storm surge and tide. Source - NWS OKX

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USGS images of Seaside Heights, NJ, before (top) and after (bottom) Sandy. Click image to enlarge.

More than 10 inches of rain fell in parts of Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. In fact, October 2012 is Delaware’s wettest October on record. Further west, up to 36 inches of snow fell in West Virginia. For Beckley, WV, October 2012 is the snowiest October on record. Also, six sites set records for all-time lowest surface pressure due to Sandy.

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Precipitation totals from Sandy.

snow map

Snowfall totals from Sandy.

Sandy’s strongest peak wind gust was 96 mph on the northern shore of Long Island. Because of debris and flooding, hundreds of roads were closed or impassable across the region. Around 8.5 million customers lost power in the U.S., with some without power for months. A fuel shortage led to gas rationing for up to two weeks in 12 New Jersey counties, in New York City, and on Long Island. The New York Stock Exchange was closed for two consecutive days, which was the first time that happened because of weather since 1888.

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Power outages due to Sandy. Source - U.S. Energy Information Administration