One year ago today, Super-storm Sandy slammed the New York City tri-state area. Despite being downgraded from hurricane status just prior to landfall, Sandy was the second costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
Coming ashore with tropical storm-force winds at high tide, Sandy caused a record 13.88-foot storm surge. It flooded many low-lying areas, including parts of the NYC subway system. Damaging or destroying more than 650,000 homes, the massive storm displaced thousands of people for months. According to NOAA, Sandy claimed the lives of 159 people and caused approximately $65 billion in property damage. The storm also knocked out power to 8.5 million people for multiple days – including most of Manhattan south of 34th Street.
Sandy’s flooding storm surge also highlighted the dangers posed by rising sea levels. In the wake of the storm, many government agencies – at all levels – began re-evaluating their strategies for dealing with future natural disasters. The National Hurricane Center changed its policy for issuing warnings on post-tropical storms and is developing a new storm surge warming system. New York City’s Office of Emergency Management re-drew its hurricane evacuation zones. And, the National Flood Insurance Program, operated by FEMA, began implementing new policy rates for homes and businesses in flood prone areas.
While the arduous process of rebuilding is ongoing, progress has been made across the region. Recovery levels vary by location.