Super-Storm Sandy

Sandy, the 18th named storm of this Atlantic Hurricane Season, made landfall near Atlantic City, NJ late Monday. Measuring nearly 1000 miles in diameter, the effects of this massive storm were felt up and down the Eastern Seaboard and as far inland as the Great Lakes. The brunt of the storm, however, was focused in the northeast.

According to the National Weather Service, Sandy was a category-1 hurricane that transitioned to a post-tropical storm just prior to coming ashore.  Despite this technical downgrade in status, the storm maintained hurricane force winds and packed a devastating punch.  It toppled trees and produced a record storm surge of 13.88 feet that caused significant property damage, extensive power outages, and a mounting death toll throughout the region. The hardest hit areas include the densely populated shoreline communities of New Jersey and nearby New York City.

Hurricanes in the northeastern United States are not unheard of, but are generally few and far between.  They typically dissipate over the cool waters of the mid-Atlantic and move out to sea.  Sandy, however, was an exceptional event. Energized by unseasonably warm ocean temperatures, this storm traveled north from the Caribbean, parallel to the US coastline. A large area of high pressure over Greenland, however, soon forced it to make a hard left turn. This shift inland put Sandy on track to meet a cold front moving in from the west. Merging together to form a hybrid nor’easter-hurricane, this colossal and catastrophic weather event earned the title, Super-Storm.

The damage caused by Sandy is currently estimated at $50-billion.

Track of Hurricane Sandy

Image Credit: NOAA

View of Hurricane Sandy from Space

Image Credit: NASA

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About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.