The fury of the great storm Sandy shocked a lot of people, like John Miksad, vice president of the New York electric utility Consolidated Edison. "We hit 14-foot tides — that was the biggest surprise," he told a press conference this week. "The water just kept rising and rising and rising."
That rising water flooded streets, buildings and parts of the city's underground electricity grid. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lost power. But it might have been worse if the power lines had not been underground.
Residents of Moonachie and Little Ferry, N.J., are beginning to clear the damage after their communities were inundated by floodwaters. The flooding occurred when a system of levees and berms was unable to control the storm surge pushed ashore by Superstorm Sandy.
Geologist Jeffrey Mount of the University of California, Davis, isn't surprised. "There really are only two kinds of levees," he says, "those that have failed, and those that will fail."
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 5:48 pm
Credit Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images
Like millions of others, I've been heartsick this week at the loss of life and destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy, especially along the Jersey Shore near where I grew up. Among the few bright spots have been the selfless acts of rescuers.
On Monday, Sandy brought heavy rain, winds and storm surges to the Northeast, causing widespread flooding and extensive damage to hundreds of communities, particularly in New Jersey and New York.
But the drenching from all that water varied greatly by region.
In areas south of Atlantic City, N.J., where the storm made landfall Monday night, the wind was pushing out toward the ocean. This prevented high storm tides along the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware coasts and in Chesapeake Bay. But the same arm of the storm that held the ocean at bay carried a lot of rain.
Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 7:29 pm
By Eliza Barclay
ABC News and the New York Daily News are reporting that cells, tissues, mice and rats used for medical research may have been lost as New York University Hospital approaches its third day without power. The losses could set researchers back years.
Better satellites, smarter computer models and faster computers helped government forecasters correctly predict the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, scientists say.
It's unlikely the forecast would have been nearly as accurate just a couple of decades ago, they say.
"The National Hurricane Center did a fantastic job, particularly with the track forecast and the intensity forecast as it was moving toward the Northeast," says Sharan Majumdar, an associate professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami.
The link was inevitably made and you can bet it's the subject of conversations and arguments all over the country. Was Sandy an example of climate change, climate change brought on or intensified by human behavior? New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to think the question is settled. Here's some of what he said today.
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO: Part of learning from this is the recognition that climate change is a reality. Extreme where there is a reality. It is a reality that we are vulnerable.
If you ask climate scientist Radley Horton, it's difficult to say that Hurricane Sandy was directly caused by climate change, but he sees strong connections between the two. Horton is a research scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University. He says that in New York City, the sea level has gone up about a foot over the past century and that researchers expect that rise to continue and even accelerate.