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 3/6/1932Philadelphia, PA
: 28.12"/953mb 28.43"/963mb 3/13/1993 Harrisburg, PA
: 28.46"/964mb 28.62"/969mb 1/3/1913Scranton, PA
: 28.69"/971mb 28.72"/973mb 2/25/1965Trenton, NJ
: 28.31"/958mb 28.43"/963mb 3/13/1993Baltimore, MD
: 28.49"/965mb 28.68"/971mb 3/3/1932Harrisburg, 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 2/25/1965Sandy'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.