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Hurricane Sandy (2012)

Hurricane Sandy was a severe late-season tropical storm which caused devastation across the Carribean and the United States in October 2012, with preliminary estimates of up to $50bn damage caused. The storm caused a major storm surge affecting many parts of the US east coast, with New York in particular being badly hit by a record surge of over 4m. Sandy also previously caused surges in the Carribean, notably in Cuba.

Meteorological history

Sandy developed on October 22, and was classified as Tropical Storm Sandy later that day. It was upgraded to Hurricane Sandy on October 24. Later that day is made landfall in Jamaica, going on to cross Cuba. Significant damage was done on both islands, with a storm surge of 2m reported on Cuba. 

After leaving Cuba, the storm moved north west over the Bahamas, briefly weakening to a tropical storm before strengthening again to a hurricane. It interacted with other weather systems along the east coats, expanding to a diameter of 1100 miles/1800km, with wind speeds up to 90mph. Although it began diminishing as it approached the US coast, again ceasing to be a hurricane, it still had winds of up to 90mph when it made landfall on the New Jersey coast late on 29th October. At landfall, a pressure of 948mb was recorded at Atlantic City, New Jersey, one of the lowest measurements for the northern part of the USA.

Hurricane Sandy captured by MetOp-A as it hit the US east coast on 29th October.

(Photo from ESA.)

There has subsequently been much discussion as to the extent that warmer sea surface temperatures and blocking highs, features expected to increase with global warming, contibuted to Sandy's impact.

(A fuller description of Sandy's evolution is given in this wikipedia article.)

Storm surge and aftermath

Sandy hit at high tide, causing a record water level in New York. A water level of 4.23m was recorded at Battery Park, New York, beating the previous recorded high of 3.05m from Hurricane Donna in 1960. Significant surges also hit many parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Although Sandy is most famous for the surges in New York and New Jersey, a storm surge of 2m was also reported to have hit Cuba, although few details are available.

Satellite and in-situ data

A link to the eSurge datbase will be added when it is ready. Additional images and data can be found at:

Links and resources

There are many pages online about Sandy. Some of the most useful are: 


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