Monday, October 28, 2013

Looking back at sandy.

Tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of Super-storm Sandy's landfall in New Jersey.

Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record (by diameter), the second-costliest storm in U.S. history (Second  only Katrina), affecting parts of 24 states including the East Coast from Florida to Maine, and was responsible for more than $65 billion in damage, and caused 285 fatalities worldwide. Days before it was becoming apparent that New Jersey to Long Island were in danger of a landfall.
I remember looking at the models, satellite images and projection forecast and being spellbound  and fearful at the same time.

There is no doubt that that Sandy will live in infamy in the hearts of those who lived through her furry.

On October 22, 2012 a tropical depression formed in the southern Caribbean Sea. This depression intensified into Hurricane Sandy. Soon after, she made her first landfall in Jamaica. After interaction with Jamaica Sandy lost some of her punch. Over the next two days Sandy quickly reorganized before her second landfall on eastern Cuba reaching a peak intensity of  sustained winds of 115mph (a Category 3 hurricane).  Sandy then tracked almost due north. Along the way two cold fronts intercepted her. The first cold front interacted with Sandy three days before her destiny in New Jersey. At this point sandy stopped being fueled solely from warm water below. She also increased in size. Her wind field more than doubled in less than 24 hours. When she interacted with the second cold front her overall size exploded, she would reach an Atlantic Basin record with tropical force winds 1000 miles from her center.

She would have gone out to sea. But when the second cold front intercepted her,  phasing with a system moving through the TN Valley, along with a strong blocking high to her  north and East along with an ocean low to her east. Because of all of this Sandy instead made a  left hook into the extreme southern NJ coastline, near Cape May. She was now a hybrid mega-storm. When Sandy made landfall, it nearly set the record for the lowest central pressure measured north of the Mason-Dixon line in the United States.

Sandy's angle of approach was a worst-possible scenario. The angle and shape of the Coast ended up concentrating the surge, building the wall of water even higher. The hardest hit regions were the coastal sections of NJ and NY, record surges were recorded in New York Harbor. Sandy's wrath was felt for hundreds of miles inland. She was associated with a blizzard that dropped over 3 feet of snow in West Virginia. Sandy also caused record setting waves of over 20 feet and enormous surges in Lake Michigan.


Why did 285 people die?

There are many reasons. But there are two primary reasons. First, many believed Sandy would behave like Irene the year before...expecting some downed trees causing power outages and some high tide flooding. But by 7:30 of the 29th, everyone who hadn't taken the storm seriously knew they had made a possible fatal error in judgment. Second,  was how the NHC (National Hurricane Center) handled Sandy. They really didn't have  procedures to handle post-tropical advisories and faced many unacceptable options. In the end, the NHC  said the next advisory would come from the National Weather Service’s Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, a lesser known entity. This greatly increased the chaos and confusion. After a review, The NHC has revised their official definition of "Hurricane Warning.

Under the new policy, the hurricane center in Miami will continue to put out warnings and advisories if a storm threatens people and land, even if a hurricane or tropical storm loses its name and becomes something different.

The main lesson I want Y'all to take from this is Never but Never take any storm for granted......

Here is a link to a post on Sandy's timeline.

Here's another of the post I made on Sandy.


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