Sandy's Two-Fisted Attack: Water From Air And Sea | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Sandy's Two-Fisted Attack: Water From Air And Sea

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.

Some parts of Maryland saw 12.5 inches of rain as Sandy passed through, according to the National Weather Service. That's nearly a quarter of Maryland's total rainfall in 2011 — about 51 inches — a large portion of which fell during Hurricane Irene. Delaware and New Jersey also recorded high rain levels matching Irene's deluge.

All the rain Maryland got has to go somewhere: down. As it flows downhill, it takes soil and debris with it, and eventually fills creeks and rivers to the brimming point. A lot of this runoff will eventually end up in the Potomac River; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a flood warning for the upper Potomac and a coastal flood warning for the river's tidal regions until Thursday.

Further north, New York saw relatively little rainfall — just 3.5 inches over the course of the storm. But off New York's coast, the swirling hurricane winds were pushing inland, piling water up against the shore. Combining with a high tide on Monday night, the storm surge broke records in New York and New Jersey.

This tide map from Sandy Hook, N.J., shows the rising water as the storm approached.

The tide heights were impressive — 12.5 feet higher than normal at King's Point, N.Y., and 9 feet higher than normal in New Haven, Conn.

So were the waves. There were swells towering almost 40 feet off Atlantic City, and 30 feet outside New York Harbor. The combination of the storm surge, the tides and the waves resulted in the destructive flooding we now see.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Out Of Ukraine, This 'Suitcase' Packs An Immigrant's Story With Humor

Ari Shapiro talks with first-time novelist Yelena Akhtiorskaya about her book, Panic in a Suitcase.
NPR

McDonald's Responsible For Treatment Of Workers, Agency Says

The National Labor Relations Board has found that McDonald's shares responsibility for working conditions at its franchised restaurants. The company will fight the ruling.
WAMU 88.5

Activists Protest Federal Minimum Wage, Saying Increase Doesn't Cut It

Protestors gathered outside Union Station to protest what they consider a paltry federal minimum-wage hike.
NPR

OkCupid Sometimes Messes A Bit With Love, In The Name Of Science

OkCupid, the online dating site, disclosed Monday that they sometimes manipulate their users' profiles for experiments.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.