Impacts of Hurricane Sandy


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Steve Stanne of NYS DEC's Hudson River Estuary program provides a simple analysis of the storm surge that caused so much damage in the New York metro area and along the Hudson River. He developed it with middle and high schoolers in mind, but adds that “with suitable explanation, 4th and 5th graders might get something out of it.”

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Impacts of Hurricane Sandy

  1. Seeing Sandy’s Impacts with Remote SensorsPrepared by Steve Stanne, Hudson River Estuary Program, in partnership with the NYS Water Resources Institute, Cornell University MODIS satellite view of Hurricane Sandy at 2:20 pm EDT Monday, October 29, 2012. Image credit: NASA. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  2. Storm surge and wind were responsible for most of the damage caused bySandy around New York City and in the Hudson Valley. This presentationanalyzes what happened using information from instruments on the water thatsend their data to the World Wide Web. South Ferry subway station, NYC, Tuesday, October 30, 2012. Image credit: MTA NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  3. This graph shows water levels at the Battery, Manhattan’s southern tip, during the week before Sandy hit.The ups and downs are high and low tides; zero is the average level of the lowest low tides. The blue lineshows predicted tides – the red line, actual tides. The green line gives the difference between the two,caused by weather or other factors. There was little difference between predicted and actual tides in thistime period. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  4. This graph shows water levels at the Battery as Sandy approached and hit. The green line - the differencebetween predicted and actual levels - shows storm surge due to Sandy. How high was it? The red lineshows actual levels, combining high tide and storm surge. This is called the storm tide. How high was thestorm tide? When did maximum flooding occur? NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  5. Troy Albany Port of Albany The Hudson River is an estuary from New York Harbor north past Albany to Troy, 153 miles from the Battery. Tides affect the river all the way to Troy. Do you think that Sandy’s storm surge influenced water levels at Albany, 145 miles north of the Battery?The Battery NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  6. This graph shows water levels at Albany as Sandy moved in. Did its storm surge have an impact in Albany?Was there a storm tide? If so, how high did it get? Did it happen at the same time as the storm tide at theBattery? NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  7. Storm surge is caused by strong winds and low atmospheric pressure over the ocean. To cause the highest storm surge in New York Harbor, what direction would winds blow from? a) North to East (0-90 compass degrees)? b) East to South (90-180 To check your answer, let’s look compass degrees)? NOAA Buoy 44065 at data from NOAA buoy 44065 c) South to West (180-270 near the entrance to New York compass degrees)? Harbor.NYS Department of Environmental Conservation d) West to North (270-360
  8. 1400 (2 PM)As Sandy closed in on Monday afternoon, Oct.29, wind direction rapidly shifted from northeast at 1400Eastern Daylight Time (2 PM) to southeast. (click) Wind speed reached 47 knots (54 miles per hour)around 2000 (8 PM) with gusts (click) to 60 knots (69 mph). This piled water into New York Harbor, causinga record storm tide at the Battery just before 9 PM. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  9. Water fills the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel , NYC, Tuesday, October 30, 2012. Image credit: MTA Damaged boats at a Hudson River marina, Wednesday, October 31, 2012.The record storm tide devastated low-lying areas along the waterfronts of New York and New Jerseyand rolled on up the Hudson, causing severe damage there too. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  10. Thankfully, storms like Sandy don’t come along very often. Next time a nor’easter, hurricane, or otherstorm impacts the Hudson, New York Harbor, or nearby coastal waters, visit these websites to seewhat’s going on. In fact, click on these URLs now or any time to check out conditions on the water.1. NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) tide gauge at the Battery, New YorkCity: NOAA Products column, click on Preliminary Water Level toHarbor entrance: In the data buoy 44065 in the Atlantic Ocean at New York see graph. US Geological Surveyto view orRiver gages (Albany, Poughkeepsie, links to others): Scroll down the page Hudson graph conditions. HRECOS (Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System) network: Click on Current Conditions to choose sites and parameters and create graphs. Questions? Contact Steve Stanne, Estuary Education Coordinator for the Hudson River Estuary Program at NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  11. Slide # Question Answer 4 Storm surge height at 9 feet Battery? 4 Storm tide height at 14 feet Battery? 4 Time of maximum Between 8 and 9 PM on flooding? Oct.29 @Battery 5 Sandy impact Albany? Yes 6 Storm surge in Albany? Yes 6 Storm tide in Albany? Yes 6 Storm tide height at About 11 feet 4 inches Albany? 6 Same time at Battery and No; between 4 and 5 AM Albany? on Oct.30 @Albany) 7 Storm surge winds blow b) East to South (90-180 from? compass degrees) NYS Department of Environmental Conservation