Hurricane Sandy Essay

HURRICANE SANDY Hurricane Sandy was a tropical cyclone that devastated portions of the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States in late October 2012. The eighteenth named storm and tenth hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, as measured by diameter, with winds spanning 1,100 miles. Sandy is estimated in early calculations to have caused damage of at least $20 billion.

Preliminary estimates of losses that include business interruption surpass $50 billion, which, if confirmed, would make it the second-costliest Atlantic hurricane in history, behind only Hurricane Katrina. Sandy developed from a tropical wave in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, quickly strengthened and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Sandy six hours later. Sandy moved slowly northward toward the Greater Antilles and gradually intensified.

On October 24, Sandy became a hurricane, made landfall near Kingston, Jamaica, a few hours later, re-emerged into the Caribbean Sea and strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. On October 25, Sandy hit Cuba, then weakened to a to Category 1 hurricane. Early on October 26, Sandy moved through the Bahamas, and later began exhibiting both tropical and extra tropical characteristics. On October 27, Sandy briefly weakened to a tropical storm and then strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane.

Early on October 29, Sandy curved north-northwest and became an extra tropical cyclone, then moved ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey. In Jamaica, winds left 70% of residents without electricity, blew roofs off buildings, killed one, and caused about $55. 23 million in damage. In Haiti, Sandy’s outer bands brought flooding that killed at least 52, caused food shortages, and left about 200,000 homeless. In the Dominican Republic, two died. In Puerto Rico, one man was swept away by a swollen river.

In Cuba, there was extensive coastal flooding and wind damage inland, destroying some 15,000 homes, killing 11, and causing $2 billion in damage. In The Bahamas, two died amid an estimated $300 million in damage. In the United States, Hurricane Sandy affected at least 24 states, from Florida to Maine and west to Michigan and Wisconsin, with particularly severe damage in New Jersey and New York. Its storm surge hit New York City on October 29, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. It is aving various political effects in the United States especially in terms of the general election scheduled for November 6, 2012. Hurricane Sandy developed at 1500 UTC on October 22, when the National Hurricane Center initiated advisories on Tropical Depression Eighteen to the south of Kingston, Jamaica. The system developed from an area of low pressure and had organized convection. It moved slowly at first due to a ridge to the north. Low wind shear and warm waters allowed for strengthening, and the system became Tropical Storm Sandy late on October 22.

Early on October 24, an eye began developing, and it was moving steadily northward due to an approaching trough. Later that day, the NHC upgraded Sandy to hurricane status about 65 mi south of Kingston, Jamaica. At about 1900 UTC that day, Sandy made landfall near Kingston with winds of about 80 mph. Just offshore Cuba, Sandy rapidly intensified to winds of 110 mph, and at that intensity it made landfall just west of Santiago de Cuba at 0525 UTC on October 25. After Sandy exited Cuba, the structure became disorganized, and it turned to the north-northwest over the Bahamas.

By October 27, Sandy was no longer fully tropical, and despite strong shear, it maintained convection due to influence from an approaching trough; the same trough turned the hurricane to the northeast. After briefly weakening to a tropical storm, Sandy re-intensified into a hurricane, and on October 28 an eye began redeveloping. The storm moved around an upper-level low over the eastern United States and also to the southwest of a ridge over Atlantic Canada, turning it to the northwest. Sandy reached a secondary peak of 90 mph on October 29, around which time it had a wind diameter of over 1,000 nautical miles.

The convection diminished while the hurricane accelerated toward the New Jersey coast, and the hurricane was no longer tropical by 2300 UTC on October 29. An hour later, Sandy made landfall about 5 miles southwest of Atlantic City, with winds of 90 mph. The remnants weakened over Pennsylvania, degenerating into a remnant trough on October 31. According to Kevin E. Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, “natural variability and weather has provided the perhaps optimal conditions of a hurricane running into extra-tropical conditions to make for a huge intense storm, enhanced by global warming influences. Unusually warm ocean surface temperatures contributed to the size and strength of the storm, and the storm lingered due to a strong blocking pattern. According to their analysis, global warming is expected to continue to increase ocean surface temperatures and the frequency of blocking patterns in the future. Mark Fischetti of Scientific American proposed a more explicit link, arguing that the melting of Arctic ice caused a negative North Atlantic Oscillation, which fueled the expansion of Sandy by pushing the jet stream south.