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Hurricane Sandy's name retired; Isaac snubbed

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 6:24 PM GMT on April 11, 2013

Hurricane Sandy has been permanently retired from the list of Atlantic hurricane names, NOAA announced today. Sandy was by far the deadliest and most destructive Atlantic tropical cyclone of 2012, with damages estimated at $50 billion. Sandy killed at least 147 people across the Atlantic basin, including 72 in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States--the highest U.S. hurricane death toll outside of the southern states since Hurricane Agnes of 1972. Sandy is the 77th name to be retired in the Atlantic since hurricanes began getting names in 1953. Sandy is the second name beginning in "S" to get retired, joining 2005's Hurricane Stan. The only letter of the alphabet used to name hurricanes that hasn't had a storm beginning with that letter retired is "V". Hurricane names are recycled every six years, and the name Sandy will be replaced by "Sara" beginning in 2018. In a bit of a surprise, the World Meteorological Organization committee in charge of retiring hurricane names elected not to retire Hurricane Isaac. Isaac only reached Category 1 strength, but killed 34 people: 24 in Haiti, 5 in the Dominican Republic, and 5 in the U.S. The hurricane drove a storm tide up to seventeen feet high into Louisiana, and caused $2.35 billion in U.S. damage.

Figure 1. Hurricane Sandy two hours before landfall in New Jersey on October 29, 2012. Image credit: NOAA.

Portlight receives $250,000 grant for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts
On September 14, 2008, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike on Texas and Louisiana moved members of the wunderground community to put into action their own impromptu relief effort. From this humble beginning has grown a disaster-relief charity I have been proud to support--Portlight.org. Since 2008, Portlight has responded to numerous disasters with the aim of helping the underserved, unserved, and forgotten people. Portlight's strong showing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy has gotten them some major recognition. On April 4, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund announced that Portlight would receive $250,000 to assist disabled people living in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties in New Jersey. The money will be used for wheelchair ramp replacement and construction, replacing durable medical equipment, and providing accessibility for raised homes in line with ADA requirements to ensure those with disabilities can remain in their homes. "Those with disabilities have been historically underserved in times of disaster, and could be permanently forced out of their homes without proper access, particularly if homes are raised based on new building guidelines. For those who are forced out, finding accessible, affordable housing can be an even greater challenge," said Paul Timmons, Chair of Portlight Strategies, Inc. "This funding is an enormous gift which will help construct wheelchair ramps, vertical lifts and replace medical equipment so those with disabilities can remain independent and stay in their homes." Please visit the Portlight.org web site or the Portlight blog to learn more and donate.

Figure 2. Portlight volunteers hard at work in New Jersey, cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy in March, 2013. Image credit: Paul Timmons.

Jeff Masters


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