Sandy's surge affected more than 1.4 million in 11 states

Nov 13, 2012

This map depicts the coastal areas likely to have been inundated by the storm surge resulting from Hurricane Sandy in relationship to residential population. It is based on a model used by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to predict the effects of hurricanes and other coastal storms on low-lying coastal regions.

Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above astronomical tides. Storm surge is sensitive to many factors, including the track, speed and intensity of the storm and coastal features such as bays and estuaries. Key factors in surge height are the length and depth of the – which in the New York area is relatively long and shallow – allowing waves to build up to considerable heights as they reach land. The extent and depth of inundation are very localized and depend not only on storm surge height but also on other factors such as the timing relative to high tide, wind direction and speed, the topography inland from the coast, and the presence of wetlands and protective works.

The table shows the number of people who resided in 2010 within the estimated flood zone by state. New York has the highest total, with more than 800,000 residents living in areas likely to have been affected by the storm surge. New Jersey had about half as many people affected as did New York, spread over a larger area. Since these estimates are based on residency, these totals do not include owners of seasonal or second homes located in the flood zone.

The inset in the lower right zooms in on Staten Island, other parts of New York City and northern New Jersey, where population density is highest. The jagged edges in the inset reflect the of the , which is based on a latitude-longitude grid of one kilometer.

Hurricane Sandy formed in the Tropical Atlantic on Oct. 22 and moved up the coast over several days. On Oct. 29, it took a sharp left turn as predicted by forecasters, and made landfall that same day. Although its wind speeds had dropped below hurricane levels at this point, its high winds affected a huge area of the Atlantic Coast and it led to record storm surges in many areas.

Explore further: How productive are the ore factories in the deep sea?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lake Okeechobee at risk in hurricanes

Oct 10, 2006

Scientists say New Orleans is most vulnerable to hurricane storm surge-caused loss of life and property damage of all U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast areas.

Good news for coast: Nor'easter to weaken

Nov 06, 2012

Northeast coastal residents got some good news Tuesday. Weather experts say that a new storm that threatens to complicate Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts on Wednesday now looks like it will be weaker than expected.

Coastal flooding documented

Nov 08, 2012

A full moon and Hurricane Sandy spelled near-record flooding in Lewes, Del., last week, as documented in a time-lapse video by Delaware Sea Grant (DESG). The video shows tidal waters and Sandy-driven storm surge cover—and ...

Notre Dame researcher studying Hurricane Irene's storm surge

Aug 26, 2011

While a great number of people are preparing to evacuate in the face of Hurricane Irene, Andrew Kennedy, a researcher in the University of Notre Dame Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, rushed to the ...

Recommended for you

How productive are the ore factories in the deep sea?

10 hours ago

About ten years after the first moon landing, scientists on earth made a discovery that proved that our home planet still holds a lot of surprises in store for us. Looking through the portholes of the submersible ...

NASA image: Volcanoes in Guatemala

15 hours ago

This photo of volcanoes in Guatemala was taken from NASA's C-20A aircraft during a four-week Earth science radar imaging mission deployment over Central and South America. The conical volcano in the center ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Untangling Brazil's controversial new forest code

Approved in 2012, Brazil's new Forest Code has few admirers. Agricultural interests argue that it threatens the livelihoods of farmers. Environmentalists counter that it imperils millions of hectares of forest, ...

Study links California drought to global warming

While researchers have sometimes connected weather extremes to man-made global warming, usually it is not done in real time. Now a study is asserting a link between climate change and both the intensifying California drought ...

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.