Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Charges Ashore, New York City Hit Hard

New York Times online headline at 2:13PM EDT, October 30, 2012.


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Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, or rather, its remnant now-extratropical circulation is sort of spinning itself out over Pennsylvania.

The NWS radar mosaic for the northeastern quadrant of the U.S. Lower 48 at 1818UTC (2:18PM EDT), October 30, 2012. The center of circulaton of post-tropical storm Sandy is a bit west of State College, Pa. Unusual snowfall continues in the mountains of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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The New York City area was hit very hard with tremendous coastal flooding that has rendered inoperable most of the mass transit systems including the city's subway lines and the PATH trains. Storm surge heights reached 11.9 feet at Kings Point on the North Shore of Long Island, N.Y.; 8.4 feet at Battery Park in NYC; and 8.6 feet in Sandy Hook, N.J.

A security camera captures Hudson River water flooding like crazy into the PATH station in Hoboken, N.J., last night, Oct. 29, 2012.

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AP is presently reporting 38 deaths in the storm including at least 17 in New York, of which at least 10 were in New York City proper. There were also destructive fires caused by downed power lines / exploding transformers with one in particular in the Breezy Point section of Queens that destroyed scores of homes. There were 23 reported storm-related fires in New York City.

Total and eerie fire destruction in the Breezy Point section of Queens, New York City, Oct. 30, 2012 as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

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More fire destruction of homes in the Breezy Point section of Queens, New York City, Oct. 30, 2012.

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According to news media accounts ...

At least 6 million people had no power at some point during the storm with approximately 750,000 in New York City still lacking electricity. In some cases the power was turned out as a precautionary measure including in parts of Lower Manhattan. Over 6,000 people are in 76 different shelters in New York City.

The partial blackout in Manhattan with the Empire State Building still illuminated over other darkened towers, October 29 or 30, 2012.

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By contrast, the Washington, D.C., area weathered the storm reasonably well if only because the really powerful winds of the hurricane -- the forecasted gusts of 70 to 80 mph and sustained winds of 50mph -- never materialized. I think peak gusts were about 60 mph and only intermittently. This was due to the unusual nature of the weather pattern that included a low-level wedge of cold air that acted as a cap on the winds mixing down to the surface.

The NWS radar mosaic at 2028UTC (4:28PM EDT) Oct. 29, 2012 as Hurricane Sandy was nearing landfall close to Atlantic City, N.J. It crossed the coastline around 8PM EDT.

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About 110,000 or so customers in the D.C. area were without power this morning (unsure if that was the peak number or not) and that number is quickly falling.

The Dover, Del., NWS radar (DOX) in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 4:39PM EDT, Oct. 29, 2012.

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The D.C. Metrorail system is reopening this afternoon. The Federal Government was shut for a second day -- and so I had another day off. Everything else -- area schools, local governments, many businesses -- are still shut. Things should start getting back to normal by tomorrow.

A young girl is rescued from flood waters in Little Ferry, N.J., October 30, 2012.

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Updated 9:15AM 10/31/2012: Corrected to specify KDCA versus KBWI storm rainfall totals:

Rainfall storm totals were in the 4 to 7 inch range including 3.85" at Reagan Washington National Airport (KDCA) and 5.51" at Baltimore/Washington International Airport (KBWI) on Monday. KDCA also had 0.15" on Sunday and 0.84" on Tuesday, or 4.84" overall. KBWI had 0.24" on Sunday and 0.92" on Tuesday or 6.67" overall. I will have updated totals in my next entry.

Another rescue of a small boy in Little Ferry, N.J., October 30, 2012.

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Updated 1:52AM 11/1/2012:

It looks as though the barometric pressure at KDCA and KBWI both got down to 969.2 millibars / 28.62" last night, neither of which broke the March 1993 Superstorm record low of 966.5 millibars / 28.54" and 965.9 millibars / 28.52", respectively. I think the peak wind gusts were around 60 mph at both locations.

Flood waters pour into excavated ground at Ground Zero construction site in Lower Manhattan, New York City, October 29, 2012.

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Flooded roadways in Lower Manhattan, New York City, October 29, 2012.

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Flooded streets in Hoboken, New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012.

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Even though it didn't rain as much in the New York City area (in the 1/2" to 1" range) there were sustained high onshore winds that piled up the water quite high -- hence the destruction. JFK Airport had a wind gust of 79 mph and several hours of sustained winds around 50 mph.

The Washington Post online headline at 1:00PM, October 30, 2012.

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Damage from the storm will be in the tens of billions of dollars and will certainly rank among the costliest -- perhaps the highest ever in dollar terms -- in New York City. The Jersey shore also was hit hard. 

Waves batter an abandoned apartment building in Atlantic City, N.J., October 29, 2012. This has a certain Inception movie / Limbo City quality to it.

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Stranded boats on Broadway in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy, October 30, 2012.

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The historic Binghamton steam ferryboat flooded by the Hudson River at its mooring in Edgewater, N.J., October 29, 2012.

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A rainbow appears in the skies over heavily damaged Breezy Point section of Queens, New York City, October 30, 2012.

Earth is a violent planet, and so this rainbow signifies nothing of the sort about no future disasters.

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OK, that's all for now. My next blog update will be either tomorrow or Thursday including with final storm total precip numbers for the D.C. area.

--Regulus

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