For decades, weather experts and disaster officials had been warning residents living along the heavily-populated Atlantic Ocean coastlines along the Northeastern US states -- and especially those in New Jersey and New York City and suburban Long Island -- that they were overdue for a major hurricane. Unprecedented tidal surge flooding, along with damaging winds and torrential rains, would likely accompany the storm, it was predicted.
And it wasn't a matter of if, but rather just a matter of when (and how big). Well, we now know the date for the "when": October 29, 2012. And the scope of the damage has now come into clear focus. Huge! is an appropriate description for how big.
Here's the ironic part about the now infamous Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. When the storm battered the northeast US on that fateful Monday evening, Sandy was barely a Category One hurricane, with sustained winds of 70-75 knots. That's the weakest wind field for a storm to be classified as a hurricane. Yet "Sandy" did more damage than any storm in the recent history of the region. So much for the so-called weakness of a Category One storm!
Weather and insurance experts are still amazed at the events which unfolded that fateful day. "This was one of those cases where you have the worst possible combination of events occurring," explained Dr. Tom Jeffery, chief hazard scientist for CoreLogic, a company that analyzes potential storm surge impacts. Sandy was unique because it didn't weaken upon reaching landfall, Jeffery added in his interview with Insurance and Technology.
The combination of the tropical cyclone with a northeaster created an environment that kept winds churning up water for much longer than the average Category 1."Usually with tropical storms they tend to ramp down very quickly, but when the storm merged with the northeaster it didn't lose any of its strength," he explained. "Even the winds that were trailing maintained more than 70 miles per hour." A silver lining is that modelers now have more data about the potential effects of this type of storm on the eastern seaboard going forward, Jeffery concluded. (For more information see the interview at the Source: Insurance and Technology)
That silver lining data bank may be of little comfort to the millions of people who lost their valuables, their homes, and some even their loved ones during this horrific natural disaster. Many NJ, NY and LI residents are without homes, or with badly damaged home and perhaps no electric service. The recovery from the storm will take months and years -- and in some cases, forever.
Repairing or replacing the damaged infrastructure of the region will cost billions' of dollars -- who will pay? What will be replaced, rebuilt, relocated? What will not be restored or repaired? There will be lots of news and commentary to follow in the months ahead.
For that reason, AC editors have launched a new Hot Topic Section: "Sandy: The Aftermath". In this new section, we will be providing news, commentary, research and other valuable information related to Sandy -- and particularly the manner in which government at all levels is (or is not) responding to the needs of citizens.
In all of the comings and goings in the aftermath we will be looking for elements of the back story -- the accountability of the public and private sectors in the rebuilding, and in the events that left much of the region unprepared for the storm(s) as they collided. There are sure to be after-action reports flowing from the public sector.
Here's a sample of the types of articles you will read right now in this new Hot Topic Section:
Hurricane Sandy Recovery A Slow Process For Some Survivors In NJ And NY
(Source: Huff Post) It's been more than a month since Sandy, the superstorm combining a hurricane, a nor'easter and surging full-moon tides, tore through the Northeast, leaving billions of dollars in damage in the New Jersey-New York-Connecticut...
U.S. auto sales zoom in the wake of Superstorm Sandy
(Source: LA Times) Americans buy more than 1.1 million vehicles in November, up 15% from a year earlier and the highest pace since January 2008. Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and BMW have their best Novembers ever.
New York Grades Insurers on Sandy Claims After Complaints
(Source: Bloomberg) Regulators led by Benjamin Lawksy, head of the New York Department of Financial Services, are publishing the number and size of claims that more than 20 insurers pay as well as the frequency of customer complaints. New York State has also reduced to six business days from 15 days the amount of time insurers have to send adjusters to homes and businesses.
FEMA flood elevations to be upgraded following Sandy
(Source: Asbury Park Press) Federal flood insurance maps for some areas don’t adequately reflect coastal flood risks following superstorm Sandy, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As a result, FEMA will be posting “Advisory Base Flood Elevations” reflecting current risks next month. In most cases, the new maps will show higher flood elevations than current flood insurance rate maps.
What we know about Superstorm Sandy a month later
(Source: Huffington Post) Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on parts of the U.S. East Coast a month ago after tearing through the Caribbean. This article brings the storm's massive scope into sharper focus.
Climate talks buffeted by the force of Superstorm Sandy
(Source: Los Angeles Times) More than 17,000 people have converged on the Qatari capital for the latest U.N. climate talks, but the most influential presence may be Sandy. The superstorm that ravaged the U.S. Northeast a month ago seared into the American consciousness an apocalyptic vision of what climate change could look like. Sandy's fresh reminder of the potential consequences of global warming has been a dominant theme in the first days of the two-week meeting.
This is just a sampling of the information in our Accountability-Central.com Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics
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