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

From Sizzling Fajitas To The Super Bowl, How Sounds Help Sell

Joel Beckerman is a composer who specializes in sonic branding. His new book is called The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy.
NPR

Climate Change Has Coffee Growers In Haiti Seeking Higher Ground

Haiti's once-flourishing coffee trade has been badly battered. The latest threat: climate change. Locals who still rely on coffee for their livelihood must learn to grow it in changing climes.
NPR

Close Iowa Senate Race Could Come Down To How Women Vote

Joni Ernst, who's an officer in the Iowa Army National Guard, presents herself as a mother, soldier, leader. But many women aren't responding to that.
NPR

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered By Old Policies

When Tunisia's young people protested in 2011, they had one key demand: jobs. Now, despite new political leadership, that demand remains unmet — even in tech, the sector that offers the most promise.

Leave a Comment

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