Superstorm Sandy delivers a devastating blow to the U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:23 PM GMT on October 30, 2012

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In a stunning spectacle of atmospheric violence, Superstorm Sandy roared ashore in New Jersey last night with sustained winds of 90 mph and a devastating storm surge that crippled coastal New Jersey and New York. Sandy's record size allowed the historic storm to bring extreme weather to over 100 million Americans, from Chicago to Maine and from Michigan to Florida. Sandy's barometric pressure at landfall was 946 mb, tying the Great Long Island Express Hurricane of 1938 as the most powerful storm ever to hit the Northeast U.S. north of Cape Hatteras, NC. New York City experienced its worst hurricane since its founding in 1624, as Sandy's 9-foot storm surge rode in on top of a high tide to bring water levels to 13.88' at The Battery, smashing the record 11.2' water level recorded during the great hurricane of 1821. Damage from Superstorm Sandy will likely be in the tens of billions, making the storm one of the five most expensive disasters in U.S. history.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Superstorm Sandy taken at 10 am EDT Tuesday, October 30, 2012. Image credit: NASA GSFC.


Figure 2. Sandy's storm surge (green line) at New York City hit 9' near 9 pm EDT, right when water levels due to high tide (blue line.) The total storm tide (red line) reached 13.88 above Mean Lower Low Water, an all-time record for NYC. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.


Figure 3. Storm surge forced the Delaware River in Philadelphia to a crest of 10.62 feet at 4 a.m. EDT this morning, breaking the previous record of 10.50 feet set Apr. 17, 2011 and Nov. 25, 1950. Image credit: NOAA.

Sandy sets all-time low pressure records
Sandy's impact has been so severe over such a wide area that it is difficult to adequately document the event. I'll start with some of the major cities that set all-time low pressure records during Sandy, with the new record followed by the old record and date of occurrence (thanks go to wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt for putting this list together):

Atlantic City, NJ: 28.01"/948mb 28.37"/961mb 3/6/1932

Philadelphia, PA: 28.12"/953mb 28.43"/963mb 3/13/1993

Harrisburg, PA: 28.46"/964mb 28.62"/969mb 1/3/1913

Scranton, PA: 28.69"/971mb 28.72"/973mb 2/25/1965

Trenton, NJ: 28.31"/958mb 28.43"/963mb 3/13/1993

Baltimore, MD: 28.49"/965mb 28.68"/971mb 3/3/1932

Harrisburg, PA: 28.46"/964mb 28.62"/969mb 1/3/1913

Cities that came close to setting their all-time low pressure record:

Newark, NJ: 28.51"/965mb 28.45"/963 3/13/1993

New York, NY: 28.53"/966mb 28.38"/961mb 3/1/1914

Washington D.C. 28.63"/969mb 28.54/966mb 3/13/1993

Lynchburg, VA: 29.12"/986mb 28.84"/977mb 3/6/1932

Elkins, WV: 29.22"/989mb 28.85"/977mb 2/25/1965

Sandy's snows
Sandy's snows have clobbered the town of Davis, WV with an estimated 26 - 28" of snow. Most of the town is without power, and winds are blowing 20 - 30 mph with 40 mph gusts. Sandy brought the snowiest October day on record to both Elkins, WV (7" of snow) and Bluefield, WV (4.7".)


Video 1. Multiple trees fall during powerful gusts during Superstorm Sandy's landfall in New Jersey Monday evening (warming: foul language.)

There's so much more to say about Sandy--including how the storm may have been influenced by climate change--but I'll save this for later posts, as it's time to get something posted.

Angela Fritz has a 2:30 pm EDT post that discusses the latest on Sandy's impact and forecast.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane Sandy (Biskitten)
Amazing waves at high tide and the storm is just beginning here in Seacoast NH!
Hurricane Sandy
Downed Sycamore (deltabird)
Weehawken NJ
Downed Sycamore
Davis, West Virginia - 4 PM (beaudodson)
Snow increasing in intensity.
Davis, West Virginia - 4 PM
Corn Neck Road, Block Island, RI (JudyGray)
Corn Neck Road, Block Island, RI
Harlem, NYC (ArsenalNYC)
Part of the roof of my building ripped off during Hurricane Sandy and landed on two cars across the street
Harlem, NYC

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Question: Were the subways flooded?

Thanks.

:-)
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Quoting sar2401:

Wowsers! Can I get those HAARP guys to help me steer/slow/speed up the stock market, and let me know where it's headed? If they can control a storm the size of Sandy, the market should be easy. Forget weather, there's a lot of money to be made here. :)


So the HAARPers are going at it again,
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Quoting LariAnn:


Actually, HAARP would have been used to steer/slow/speed up Sandy so that it would be properly timed to meet the other meteorological phenomena (cold front, arctic air). Why would such a thing be done? Well, that remains to be seen - that's the conspiracy part! Chemtrails - don't know where they fit in, though!

Wowsers! Can I get those HAARP guys to help me steer/slow/speed up the stock market, and let me know where it's headed? If they can control a storm the size of Sandy, the market should be easy. Forget weather, there's a lot of money to be made here. :)
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Also, how extensive was subway damage, from what I'm hearing not too bad.



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152. yoboi
Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:



did they have climate change in the 1930's????
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Quoting sar2401:

That's a very old building that had a "new riot" style facade added to it when it became the emergency dispatch center for Cleveland. It looks like the facade is damaged rather than the building, but I still wouldn't want to be in or around it. Cleveland does have an alternate 911 system set up and operating.

Ohio in general seems to have been left out of the news. Winds at Burke Lakefront Airport, not far from the Sterling Building, had winds gusting to 76 mph yesterday. There are about 700,000 people without power in the state and there has been considerable damage to trees and structures. My aunt has a farm located about 50 miles south of the Lake, and she lost about 80 trees, including oaks that were well over 100 years old. I still haven't been able to reach my sister, who lives in Cleveland. This has been a terrible storm over an amazingly large swath of the country, not to mention the death and destruction done before Sandy ever got to the CONUS.


It is interesting to see a building look like it's breathing though... The wind is making all of the panels shift in the wind like they were fabric instead of stucco. I'm just worried that pieces of it will break off and damage other buildings before they can remove it properly
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Quoting sar2401:

I don't know the cause of the fires in Queens, but I suspect leaking natural gas was to blame.


I read that a falling power line caused this.

Quoting sar2401:

While the Dutch system is used as a model, the purposes of their flood control structures are much different than trying to protect a city, even one the size of NYC. It's also not clear to me that the Dutch system would not have failed in a storm the size and intensity of Sandy.


Don't underestimate the power of European windstorms. When f.ex. Kyrill came ashore on the dutch coast the central pressure was about 960 mbars, sturm surge was about 4,5 m over astronomical height (though not exactly at high tide) and widespread gusts with more then 100 kn had been observed.

Considering NYC and the area protected by the Delta Works I consider both to be comparable, both in their actual size as well as development and population. (It does not really matter, if we speak about five million or eight million people living in an area. With rising sea levels it is not really a question wether it has to be done but the question is why the Army Corps of Engineers wasn't committed with this goal a couple of decades ago.
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149. BDAwx
Interestingly, the water for that storm surge had to come from somewhere. If you look to the northern gulf coast you see water levels dropped by about a foot there, and if you looked to the north shores of the Caribbean islands similar observations might be made.
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Quoting dogsgomoo:
Ocean side, Seaside Heights.


Damn. I used to go there all the time when I was a kid. Also, Ocean City NJ, which I fear got it much worse. Really breaks my heart to see. Thanks for posting.
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Quoting Methurricanes:
Cleveland, OH
Link
Building evacuating, also the lakeside airport is flooded by the Lake.

That's a very old building that had a "new riot" style facade added to it when it became the emergency dispatch center for Cleveland. It looks like the facade is damaged rather than the building, but I still wouldn't want to be in or around it. Cleveland does have an alternate 911 system set up and operating.

Ohio in general seems to have been left out of the news. Winds at Burke Lakefront Airport, not far from the Sterling Building, had winds gusting to 76 mph yesterday. There are about 700,000 people without power in the state and there has been considerable damage to trees and structures. My aunt has a farm located about 50 miles south of the Lake, and she lost about 80 trees, including oaks that were well over 100 years old. I still haven't been able to reach my sister, who lives in Cleveland. This has been a terrible storm over an amazingly large swath of the country, not to mention the death and destruction done before Sandy ever got to the CONUS.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



high impact widespread event

it was told to them



There are none so blind, as them wot cant hear.

or something....
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Quoting RTSplayer:
What gets me about the storms and people and government reactions is this is going to become a common occurrence in the future if the sea level rise projections are even close to accurate.

Since mortgages are a 30 year transaction, and bridges and high rise buildings are generally intended to pay for themselves over as much as a generation or two in some cases, it seems to me that some locations along the coast will need a near-total ban on new construction for certain types of uses, phasing in a couple decades from now.

You have to figure if a mortgage is a 30 year plan, then you need a total building ban by 2070 in any area that will be fully inundated by 2100, or any area that will be in a "catastrophic damage" predictor from a tropical storm, or at least something like this. the exact year will differ by location and elevation, obviously.

Without some sort of such bans, how will the government and insurance companies an banks keep absorbing the losses?

At some point, it becomes unfair, even immoral, to keep asking the people living in less effected areas to pay higher and higher mortgage, tax, and insurance rates to pay for the damages.

At what point does the lower 1/3rd of Florida become economically ineffective, that is, costing more to maintain than it produces? The same can be said for parts of Louisiana, and any number of locations on the East Coast.


Obviously, you can't permanently evacuate and ban everything, but think of the water level rise from an identical storm if this was 2100?! The projected mean sea level rise is 3 feet higher, so add another 3 feet on top of what just happened, and that's what an identical storm would do, and based on pressure, this is probably not quite a 1 in 100 storm, but close.

If the water was 3 feet higher to begin with, then perhaps a 60mph landfall would produce the same net water level rise as this 90mph landfall just did. So then floods of this sort would happen every couple years, either from a hurricane or a nor'easter, or some other low, instead of once or twice per century.


It's inconceivable that the existing paradigm of commercial and residential construction could be maintained profitably for more than a few decades at the rate things are going, particularly since so many components of our government at every level are near-bankrupt, and so many businesses are struggling as well.

90 years is a long time, but 16 trillion dollars existing federal debt is a long time. I the U.S. had a 100 billion dollar surplus every year, and paid that to the debt, it would take 160 years to remove the debt. We haven't had a surplus at all since the Clinton years.

This one storm is probably a top-five monetary loss event, and would single-handedly erase a 100 billion dollar surplus through a combination of direct damage and secondary economic losses. If it starts happening every year or two, it would become economically impossible to ever pay for the losses while trying to maintain the government's debts.
The problem is that I can make the same arguments about people living near fault zones, or people living in mountainous areas where flash floods are common, or people living near chemical plants where industrial accidents are a risk, or people living in tornado alley...on and on, I think you get the picture.

Do not just assume that you are paying an extra insurance premium for people living on the coast. If people live in flood zones they are already required to carry extra insurance, and as long as the USGS and FEMA keep updating the flood zone maps to stay accurate then all of the extra insurance charges should be covered only by those that need them and nobody else.
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Quoting mehmattski:


Where is this from?
Ocean side, Seaside Heights.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:

Yeah, we got to keep an eye on them.
There's one in particular. I dont want to call names, but his starts with a G and ends with RO. He's the worst of the lot.
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Quoting LargoFl:
the NJ Gov said the destruction is unbelievable



high impact widespread event

it was told to them


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Quoting pottery:
In the meantime....

The weather in Trinidad continues to be Hot and Dry

Was looking at a blob in the Atl. east of here, yesterday, but it's gone now.

oh oh

Blob snatchers at work...
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Yup. Extremely high cost in damage and 100+ deaths.


I figured because Irene got retired and it was only HALF as bad as Sandy.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
There is no more water coming into NYC right?
And did the Hudson River there breach or overtop?

Also, how extensive was subway damage, from what I'm hearing not too bad.

Not sure if you've seen this yet:
Firezone:
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
In the meantime....

The weather in Trinidad continues to be Hot and Dry with 93-95 temps every day.
Rainfall for October has been 5.75" but 4.25" of that fell on the 12th during the passage of TS Raphael.

Rain has fallen on 5 days for the month. This is really abnormal as we are in the Rainy Season.....

The ground is dry and baked hard, vegetation is being affected and we will face serious water problems if things dont change in Nov/Dec.

Was looking at a blob in the Atl. east of here, yesterday, but it's gone now.
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Quoting dogsgomoo:
the NJ Gov said the destruction is unbelievable
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 43875
Quoting islander101010:
all thanks to the tree or there nothing i can do about that great video

Umm...huh?
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Quoting dogsgomoo:


Where is this from?
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/edit. Sorry. I thought the video would link back to NJ Nat. Guards Facebook page. This is along the coast @ Seaside Heights.
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132. MahFL
Quoting ncstorm:
From CNN

[Update 1:05 p.m.]One way to help people: donate blood, the organization tweeted.


That's not to specifically help Sandy people, it's just that in the NE blood collection has been suspended for a day or two, so stocks are naturally going to be lower. So the blood donation will help everyone.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Is the name "Sandy" going to be retired now?
Yup. Extremely high cost in damage and 100+ deaths.
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Quoting pottery:

Most Definitely.
Agreed. There's zero chance it won't be retired.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14001
Quoting EricSpittle:
I sure hope you're joking
maybe we need to remove deer crossing signs altogether..
:P
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Is the name "Sandy" going to be retired now?

Most Definitely.
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From CNN

[Update 1:05 p.m.] The U.S. death toll from superstorm Sandy has risen to 29, with another death reported in Pennsylvania and two in Virginia.

The toll includes 15 in New York; three in New Jersey; three in Pennsylvania; two in Maryland; two in Connecticut; two in Virginia, one in West Virginia, and one on the HMS Bounty.

One person was killed in Canada, and 67 were killed in the Caribbean, including 51 in Haiti. The overall death toll stands at 97.

[Update 12:56 p.m.] In the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, New York, where the storm has damaged many houses and fire is believed to have destroyed 80 homes, T.J. Gilmartin told CNN that a three-block area is a place of “total destruction.”

“There is nothing in this one cluster of homes,” Gilmartin said. “And every house along the side that’s still up is damaged. Every one, they’re off their foundations. … Even the sidewalk is ripped up.”

He was checking the area for his brother, who lives in the area but isn’t there today.

“I walked up, took a few pictures, and I’m going to e-mail them to my brother,” he said.

[Update 12:53 p.m.] The New York Stock Exchange says it will reopen Wednesday morning after being closed for two days due to superstorm Sandy.

[Update 12:30 p.m.] About 60 people are stranded on New York's Fire Island with contaminated water and no electricity after they did not obey mandatory evacuation orders over the weekend, officials say.

"We were able on Monday morning to rescue about 14 people" from the island, said Vanessa Baird-Streeter, director of communications for Suffolk County.

Now, officials are working to make sure those left on the island are safe. The Coast Guard is flying over the area.

Long Island Power Authority had "de-energized" the area after the mandatory evacuation, Baird-Streeter said.

[Update 12:20 p.m.] New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it will resume limited bus service today at 5 p.m. Fares will be waived for the time being, the MTA said on Twitter.

[Update 12:16 p.m. ET] About 300 blood drives across the country had to be canceled because of the superstorm, leaving a shortfall of almost 9,000 units, the Red Cross says.

One way to help people: donate blood, the organization tweeted.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284

Quoting FunnelVortex:
Is the name "Sandy" going to be retired now?

Id say thats a good bet
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Is the name "Sandy" going to be retired now?
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Google Adds Power Outage Info to Hurricane Sandy Map

By Angela Moscaritolo October 30, 2012 11:30am EST

Millions of residents along the East Coast woke up Tuesday morning without power following superstorm Sandy. The hurricane slammed into the East Coast Monday night, leaving massive devastation and taking 16 lives as it continued its path inland.

As the storm approached, Google launched a special interactive map site containing vital emergency information about Sandy. The Web giant last night made the tool even more useful with the addition of power outage information. The map will now direct you to power status information from Con Edison, Long Island Power Authority, PSE&G, and other utilities along the East Coast.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2411561,00.a sp
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Quoting zoomiami:


Us too -- 52 here last night -- had to dig out my fluffy slippers.

But after Wilma there was a cold front too -- so I guess not that unusual.


Not so unusual with all this global warming to have places get much colder earlier in the year.
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Quoting LariAnn:


Actually, HAARP would have been used to steer/slow/speed up Sandy so that it would be properly timed to meet the other meteorological phenomena (cold front, arctic air). Why would such a thing be done? Well, that remains to be seen - that's the conspiracy part! Chemtrails - don't know where they fit in, though!
I sure hope you're joking
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Severe NJ Weather (on facebook)
Jersey Shore Hurricane News (on facebook)
It looks like many piers/boardwalks along the NJ coast have sustained heavy damage or are gone.
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all thanks to the tree or there nothing i can do about that great video
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 5088
Flood Warning

FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
922 AM EDT TUE OCT 30 2012

VAC043-069-139-171-187-840-WVC027-301930-
/O.EXT.KLWX.FA.W.0030.000000T0000Z-121030T1930Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
SHENANDOAH VA-WARREN VA-CITY OF WINCHESTER VA-FREDERICK VA-CLARKE VA-
PAGE VA-HAMPSHIRE WV-
922 AM EDT TUE OCT 30 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS EXTENDED THE

* FLOOD WARNING FOR SMALL STREAMS IN...
HAMPSHIRE COUNTY IN EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA
CITY OF WINCHESTER IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA
CLARKE COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA
FREDERICK COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA
PAGE COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA
SHENANDOAH COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA
WARREN COUNTY IN NORTHWEST VIRGINIA

* UNTIL 330 PM EDT TUESDAY

* AT 922 AM EDT...NUMEROUS ROADS REMAINED CLOSED THROUGHOUT THE AREA
DUE TO ELEVATED STREAMS...ESPECIALLY IN SHENANDOAH AND FREDERICK
COUNTIES IN VIRGINIA. THE NORTH FORK SHENANDOAH IS CRESTING
NOW...SO THE FLOOD THREAT SHOULD BE DECREASING BY THIS AFTERNOON.

A FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR HAS BEEN REPORTED.
STREAM RISES WILL BE SLOW AND FLASH FLOODING IS NOT EXPECTED.
HOWEVER...ALL INTERESTED PARTIES SHOULD TAKE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS
IMMEDIATELY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

MOST FLOOD DEATHS OCCUR IN AUTOMOBILES. NEVER DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO
AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE ROADWAY. FLOOD WATERS ARE USUALLY
DEEPER THAN THEY APPEAR. JUST ONE FOOT OF FLOWING WATER IS POWERFUL
ENOUGH TO SWEEP VEHICLES OFF THE ROAD. WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED
ROADS MAKE THE SMART CHOICE...TURN AROUND...DONT DROWN.


Saw this on the way to work, too. All this water on its way to the Potomac, just to add some insult to the whole mess in DC
Member Since: December 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1273
Cleveland, OH
Link
Building evacuating, also the lakeside airport is flooded by the Lake.
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Quoting ncstorm:


Yes, I had trouble connecting to my local NWS..
Same here.
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Quoting EricSpittle:

Damn you beat me, I was going to say they were exploding to over-hype this minor cat 1 hurricane. :)
Probably some sort of conspiracy, stupid HAARP blowing up all those transformers with chem trails (am I getting this right?)


Actually, HAARP would have been used to steer/slow/speed up Sandy so that it would be properly timed to meet the other meteorological phenomena (cold front, arctic air). Why would such a thing be done? Well, that remains to be seen - that's the conspiracy part! Chemtrails - don't know where they fit in, though!
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Quoting sar2401:

It's also not clear to me that the Dutch system would not have failed in a storm the size and intensity of Sandy.


The Dutch system is designed to withstand the 1:10000 year storm. That's a 15ft + surge at the coast covered with high waves.

Remember the surge wasn't as high at the coast as it was at battery park.
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
This was on NWS page all over eastern USA:

The web servers that normally support the eastern part of the United States have experienced a systems failure. We are currently working to resolve the problem.

Thanks, Sandy...


Yes, I had trouble connecting to my local NWS..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
Thanks Dr. Masters. Whats Next in the 2012 Atlantic Season? Hopefully nothing... but i have a feeling we are not out of the woods yet.


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111. Skyepony (Mod)
Sar~ Before Queens caught on fire the scanners had reports of huge electrical arcs there with pleas to shut off the electricity. Also saw a report of one women electrocuted there. Natural gas could have played a part in all that. I hope they got everyone out. That area is devastated.
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This was on NWS page all over eastern USA:

The web servers that normally support the eastern part of the United States have experienced a systems failure. We are currently working to resolve the problem.

Thanks, Sandy...
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Quoting zoomiami:


Hey tigger --- was thinking about you last night. Nice to see you are alive and well. Sounds like its not so nice where your family is.


just like us tho being prepared for canes, they have generators, kero heaters, and lots of home canned foods that just need to be heated up...i more worry about the ones that were out hunting that got caught up in it cuz there is no cell phone service in lots of areas to call someone in
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It was 46 for me last night!
Quoting zoomiami:


Us too -- 52 here last night -- had to dig out my fluffy slippers.

But after Wilma there was a cold front too -- so I guess not that unusual.
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Quoting tiggeriffic:


ZOOO!!! MUAH...missed ya!


Hey tigger --- was thinking about you last night. Nice to see you are alive and well. Sounds like its not so nice where your family is.
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Quoting Matthias1967:
To me some officials seem to be rather incompetent when appearantly an area is under mandatory evacuation due to expected flooding but electricity wasn't switched off. Those dozens of buildings in Queens did not need to burn. Needless to say that power lines within heavily developped urban areas have to be placed under the surface and not on poles. Also that Manhattan trafo station did not need to explode. Will take much more time and money to repair it from the beginning instead of only exchanging from salty water corroded parts.

I also think they're too optimistic about putting back to service the subway. When in 2002 the Metro in Prague was flooded it took full nine months to repair it. However there has been a lot of mud splashed into the tunnels which not seem to have occurred in Manhattan but I don't believe they will be able to pump out, clean and repair damages within several days.

What is missing in NYC is a comprehensive storm surge protection like the Dutch Delta Works, i.e. flood doors on Arthur Kill, Verrazano Narrows and East River and Manhattan would be flooded never again. Well, that's expensive and the investor would be the state and there are too many Reps thinkung that the state should spend less money...

You simply can't shut down power in an area as large as NYC without causing massive disruptions and rolling power failures on other parts of the grid. Con Ed did shut down power to parts of Manhattan when it was safe to do so, but flipping the switch for entire areas just isn't feasible, one of the many reasons being is that it's a lot more complicated than flipping a switch. I don't know the cause of the fires in Queens, but I suspect leaking natural gas was to blame. You can't just shut down natural gas systems either. Undergrounding of power lines isn't the panacea that people think it is. They are still susceptible to water damage, and finding and replacing circuit breakers and transformers in underground systems is very time consuming compared to above ground systems. I also don't know the circumstances of the failure that took place at the Manhattan substation, but some failures are inevitable in a storm this powerful no matter what precautions are taken.

I have no knowledge of flood control structures but, no matter what's done, mother nature will always win in the end. While the Dutch system is used as a model, the purposes of their flood control structures are much different than trying to protect a city, even one the size of NYC. It's also not clear to me that the Dutch system would not have failed in a storm the size and intensity of Sandy.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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