AMS Event: Assessing Storm Surge Risk in NYC

The New York City/Long Island chapter of the American Meteorological Society will be hosting a seminar this Thursday, November 15th, at Columbia University.  Dr Kerry Emanuel, a professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, is scheduled to present a lecture on “Assessing Storm Surge Risk in NYC.”

In light of the catastrophic impact that Super-Storm Sandy’s record high storm surge caused in and around New York City, this timely talk promises to be very informative.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information and directions, please review this announcement –  AMS: Assessing Storm Surge Risk in NYC

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

Sandy Wallops New York City

Barreling through New York City late last night, post-tropical storm Sandy caused widespread damage and power outages.  Eighteen storm-related deaths – so far – have also been reported across the city’s five boroughs.

Powerful winds – with gusts reaching 79 mph – toppled countless trees and helped create a record storm surge of 13.88 feet in lower Manhattan.  As a result, streets flooded and the subway tunnels were inundated with water.  In addition, the encroaching seawater shorted out power substations, leaving a large part of southern Manhattan in the dark.

The city’s outer boroughs were also seriously battered in this storm.  Many homes and businesses in the low lying coastal areas of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx were damaged or destroyed by unprecedented flooding.

The extensive damage from Sandy is still being assessed, but officials say this storm may be the worst in New York City’s history.