Whirlpool From the Ocean
The damage caused by Hurricane Sandy amounted to an astonishing figure of USD 70 billion! In Jamaica and Cuba, the damage caused was around USD 100 million for both, and in the Bahamas, the loss was valued at USD 700 million. In Canada, the cost figures reached CAD 100 million.
Hurricane Sandy slammed onto the eastern coast of the United States in late October to early November 2012. It was classified as a Category 3 hurricane based on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane wind scale, and had a maximum wind velocity of 115 mph.
Officially, Hurricane Sandy took more than 200 lives from all around USA, including Canada, Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
In USA, a total of 24 states were affected, the main ones being New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Florida, besides others. During its course, the hurricane's strength varied, leading to change in its category. When it hit Cuba, it was under Category 3, which further lessened to Category 1 when it moved further.
The strength decreased even more, and Sandy became a tropical storm, but again its wind velocity increased. By the time the hurricane slammed into the eastern coast of USA, it was Category 2.
Timeline of Hurricane Sandy with a Path Map
HURRICANE, SANDY, TIMELINE
October 20 : Formation of a tropical wave near the west coast of Africa, which moves westwards and encounters a tropical trough, leading to increase in intensity and category.
October 22 : Sandy forms as a tropical storm and slowly moves westwards towards the Caribbean Sea. The maximum wind speeds are about 40 mph, and it is classified as Tropical Depression 18.
October 24 : Sandy is upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, as the wind speeds increase up to more than 80 mph while entering the Caribbean Sea. Warnings are issued in all the island nations.
October 26 : Hurricane Sandy wrecks havoc on Jamaica and neighboring nations of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It is now classified as a Category 3 hurricane, with wind speeds of more than 100 mph.
October 27 : The wind speed decreases a bit and Sandy becomes a Category 1 hurricane. It again builds up speed and slams into Cuba, causing a lot of destruction. After this, it passes onward to The Bahamas Islands.
October 28 : Wind speeds decrease again to a Category 1 storm. Sandy moves towards the east coast of USA, and although the category is less, a lot of damage is caused in the coastal cities.
October 29 and 30 : Manhattan, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and North and South Carolina experience significant damage, like power outages, damage to houses, flooding, fallen trees and poles, etc.
October 31 : Some damage is also caused in a few Canadian cities. The hurricane finally dissipates after leaving a trail of destruction for almost one entire week.
On October 22, in the Caribbean Sea, a low pressure area was formed, which developed into a tropical storm. After a few hours, the storm moved north-northwest (NNW), and by the time it approached Jamaica, it transformed into a hurricane. After causing havoc here, its strength decreased a bit intermittently, but soon increased as it approached Cuba.
Around 4 to 5 days after it formed, the strength decreased again to a Category 1 hurricane. After this, it slammed into the US, affecting many eastern coastal regions. In all, 7 countries were affected: The Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, USA, and Canada.
Before hitting USA, the winds were in the form of a tropical cyclone. According to research studies, it is one of the largest Atlantic hurricane ever to hit USA, and also showed the lowest low pressures, which occurred in the oceanic areas as well as on land.
Effects, Destruction, and Damage in Affected Areas
Haiti and Jamaica were severely affected, as Sandy hit these regions when it was a Category 3 storm. Trees crashed down and landslides destroyed houses near high altitude regions. In Haiti, a cholera outbreak occurred in the next month after the disaster took place, further increasing the death toll (at least 50 people died and thousands were infected).
Near North Carolina, a ship called 'Bounty' sank after most of the crew members were rescued. Few states like West Virginia and Michigan reported snowfall, which probably was one of the aftereffects of the hurricane. The New York Stock Exchange remained closed for at least 2 days; consequently, the stock market also plummeted during and after this disaster.
This was one of the greatest effects of Hurricane Sandy on the country's economy. Though not as severe as the other countries, Hurricane Sandy also affected Canada significantly. Several hundred flights were canceled, and about fifty thousand homes experienced power outages. Wind velocity of more than 70 mph was measured in regions around Lake Huron.
Preparation, Relief, and Recovery Efforts
Around the time Sandy was a tropical cyclone, the Jamaican government put out a storm warning. After the category increased according to the strength, the storm warning was changed to a hurricane warning, along with total curfew and shutting down of all institutions like schools, offices, colleges, etc. The Haiti government also issued similar warnings.
In the United States, thousands of domestic and international flights were canceled. The armed forces were put on alert in various coastal states, and warnings were issued on television, radio, and through the Internet.
Several patients in hospitals that were situated in the hurricane's path were evacuated, along with thousands of people living in the coastal areas. Numerous medical procedures and operations were canceled in different hospitals, with the exception of the emergency ones.
In terms of relief and recovery, several institutions donated in terms of money and food. United Nations, Disney-ABC Television Group, NBC, etc., were such organizations which provided huge relief in different forms. A large concert called '12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief' took place in New York on December 12.
Several bands and musicians took part in this event which was dedicated to the victims and survivors. A lot of political debate also took place, which had an impact on the general elections that took place shortly.
The European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts had predicted the hurricane's path around October 23, which was opposite what the other models said, that it would again move out towards sea.
Nevertheless, it is said that in spite of falling under the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, the intensity of Hurricane Sandy was greater than normal estimation because of drastic increase in global warming levels. Thus, it can be said to be one of the worst natural disasters in US history.
As the damage and destruction caused was enormous, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name 'Sandy', and its usage will not be made in the future for any cyclone that arises from the Atlantic Ocean. For the next hurricane season, which is estimated to take place in 2018, the name 'Sara' has been selected.