What are 5 facts about Hurricane Sandy?

1. Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Sandy was a massive and destructive hurricane that caused major impacts in the Caribbean and the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States in October 2012. Here are some key facts about the impacts and severity of Hurricane Sandy:

– Sandy was the deadliest hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, causing at least 233 direct deaths across multiple countries, including 72 deaths in the United States.

– Estimated damage totals from Sandy in the United States were over $65 billion (2012 USD), making Sandy the second-costliest hurricane to hit the United States since 1900, behind only Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

– Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record in terms of wind field size, with tropical storm-force winds spanning 900 miles in diameter.

– Sandy caused major flooding in numerous large cities across the eastern seaboard, including New York City, Atlantic City, and Baltimore. Particularly severe impacts were felt in New York and New Jersey.

– An estimated 650,000 homes were damaged or destroyed across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut alone. Around 8.5 million customers lost power during the storm.

– The New York Stock Exchange was forced to close for two consecutive business days during Sandy, which was the first weather-related closure of the exchange since the Great Blizzard of 1888.

– Sandy’s storm surge hit New York City on October 29, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power across the city. The storm surge level of 13.88 feet at Battery Park was the highest ever recorded in the city.

– At least 23 U.S. states were affected to some degree by Sandy, with particularly severe damage occurring in New Jersey and New York. The devastation prompted massive recovery and rebuilding efforts by these states.

So in summary, Hurricane Sandy was unprecedented in its massive size and scope of impact, causing historic levels of damage throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States that resulted in it being the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 season. The storm’s immense storm surge wreaked havoc in major urban areas like New York City, underscoring Sandy’s severity and record-breaking impacts compared to other hurricanes.

2. Hurricane Sandy underwent an unusual evolution and track shift before hitting the U.S.

In the days leading up to its landfall in the United States, Hurricane Sandy took a very unusual track and underwent some highly uncommon transformations in its structure and evolution:

– Sandy formed as a tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea on October 22, 2012. It reached hurricane strength by October 24 as it moved northward.

– The hurricane was initially forecast to curve out to sea away from the U.S., but it then made a dramatic left turn and headed straight for the East Coast. This rare left hook into the coast is known as a “Fujiwhara effect.”

– While most hurricanes weaken when they move north and encounter cooler waters and air, Sandy unexpectedly maintained its hurricane strength as it turned northwestward and paralleled the southeast U.S. coastline.

– On October 27, an unusual blocking pattern with a strong high pressure ridge to its north forced Sandy on its rare trajectory directly into the East Coast. Most storms are pushed safely out to sea by prevailing westerly winds.

– Just one day before landfall, Sandy merged with a developing nor’easter storm system. This rare “Fujiwhara effect” intensified Sandy and transformed it into a massive hybrid storm system with both tropical and extratropical characteristics.

– This hybrid nature gave Sandy an immense size, complex structure, and strange wind patterns, as well as a record-low pressure of 940 millibars when it made landfall. Most hurricanes only have purely tropical characteristics and weaken prior to landfall.

– Sandy maintained hurricane-force winds despite its hybrid structure, which is highly unusual for a system so far north and close to landfall. The hybrid storm intensified rather than weakened.

So in summary, Hurricane Sandy took a series of highly unusual turns and went through evolutionary changes including merging with a nor’easter that are extremely atypical for a hurricane as far north as Sandy was. This strange evolution and track helped make Sandy such a destructive storm.

3. New York City’s transit system suffered unprecedented damage from Sandy’s storm surge

When Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on October 29, the incredibly high storm surge of nearly 14 feet sent walls of water flooding into New York City and its critical transportation infrastructure:

– Sandy inflicted the worst damage ever on New York’s 108-year-old subway system. An estimated 1.5 billion gallons of water inundated stations, tunnels, and equipment across the system.

– Seven subway tunnels under the East River were totally flooded by surge waters. This included the Cranberry Street Tunnel and the 14th Street Tunnel, which had never before flooded.

– The South Ferry subway station at the southern tip of Manhattan was completely submerged under seawater. An estimated 800 million gallons flooded the station alone. This station was rebuilt just one year prior and sustained severe water damage.

– Powerful floodwaters shattered subway panels, ripped out electrical signals, twisted rails, collapsed equipment, and deposited debris and corrosive saltwater throughout the system.

– Photos showed water gushing into station entrances, completely submerging turnstiles and staircases, and drowning entire platforms and train yards.

– An estimated 20 subway tunnels were inundated by water along with three of the system’s 14 underwater tunnels. Nine of the city’s 22 train lines could not operate after the storm.

– It took nearly two weeks for full subway service to be restored following extensive repair work. Billions were spent repairing the widespread damage caused by Sandy’s flooding.

So in short, Hurricane Sandy dealt an unprecedented blow to New York’s essential transportation network. The subway system suffered the most devastating flooding event in its history from Sandy’s over 14-foot storm surge, which severely damaged numerous key stations, tunnels, and infrastructure.

4. Sandy damaged or destroyed thousands of homes in New Jersey and New York

Hurricane Sandy’s powerful storm surge and high winds caused massive damage to homes and real estate across large regions of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut:

– An estimated 650,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

– In New Jersey alone, over 30,000 homes were seriously damaged. The state had over $8 billion in damages to housing.

– New York City saw around 300 homes completely destroyed by Sandy’s surge and winds. Additionally, over 80,000 NYC units sustained some level of damage from the storm.

– FEMA paid out over $3.5 billion in home repair assistance in New York following Hurricane Sandy. New Jersey received over $1.3 billion from FEMA for housing repairs.

– Coastal cities like Atlantic City saw devastating residential damage as Sandy’s strong storm surge submerged entire city blocks. Well over 1,500 homes were inhabitable afterwards.

– Public housing complexes in New York and New Jersey also endured severe damage, including many high-rise buildings that lost power and had significant water damage.

– Commercial real estate and small businesses also saw extensive damage. In New Jersey, over 1,300 businesses were seriously impacted or destroyed. NYC had over 4,500 heavily damaged businesses.

– Parts of Staten Island and Queens experienced catastrophic surge flooding that obliterated entire neighborhoods of homes. Breezy Point in Queens saw over 120 homes burned to the ground.

So in summary, Sandy’s immense impact resulted in tens of thousands of homes being destroyed or seriously damaged mainly in coastal regions of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Entire neighborhoods were rendered uninhabitable and faced demolished properties, displacing thousands of residents.

5. Hurricane Sandy prompted significant changes to coastal infrastructure and disaster planning

Being such a devastating and unprecedented event, Hurricane Sandy prompted many key changes in how coastal infrastructure is designed and how storm disaster planning occurs:

– New building code standards were adopted requiring critical infrastructure systems like hospitals to be built at higher elevations or otherwise flood-proofed.

– NYC updated its building codes to meet more stringent flood zone standards. Requirements were enhanced for flood-prone locations to better withstand surge waters.

– Flood walls, levees, and dunes were rebuilt taller and stronger in places like the Rockaways, Staten Island, and Jersey Shore. Beach nourishment projects also widened beaches.

– Mayor Bloomberg proposed a $20 billion flood protection plan for NYC including flood walls, levees, and surge gates. Some elements have since been implemented.

– The NY Subway system installed floodgates, sealing structures, and other flood control measures to prevent water from entering vulnerable stations and tunnels.

– Critical infrastructure like power substations and wastewater plants invested in new resiliency measures like elevating, hardening, and waterproofing assets.

– Warning systems and evacuation plans were also reevaluated and improved based on lessons learned during Sandy. Communication with vulnerable populations was identified as a major issue.

– FEMA updated its flood maps and doubled the number of policyholders in the National Flood Insurance Program in NYC in the years after Sandy.

So in many ways, Hurricane Sandy highlighted major vulnerabilities in the region’s coastal infrastructure and spurred significant action to improve resiliency and disaster preparedness for future storms. Building codes, flood control systems, and critical infrastructure design have all been reexamined and enhanced as a result of Sandy’s impacts. However, work remains ongoing to fully address the risks revealed.


In summary, Hurricane Sandy stands out as a historic and unprecedented storm that had major impacts on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States in October 2012. Its immense size and destructive power caused significant loss of life and tens of billions in damage. Sandy took a highly unusual track and underwent uncommon transformations before making landfall. Record storm surge levels in New York City flooded the subway system and inundated coastal communities. Sandy highlighted vulnerabilities in the region’s infrastructure and spurred many improvements in resiliency planning and disaster preparedness. Even a decade later, the legacy of Sandy remains through the changes it prompted in how coastal cities prepare for major storms.