Category Archives: Sandy Storm

A Changed Coastline in Jersey

These photographs show a portion of the New Jersey coastal town of Mantoloking, just north of where Hurricane Sandy made landfall.


By Mike Carlowicz / NASA;

On October 29, 2012, lives were changed forever along the shores of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and in the two dozen United States affected by what meteorologists are calling Superstorm Sandy.

The landscape of the East Coast was also changed, though no geologist would ever use the word “forever” when referring to the shape of a barrier island.

The two aerial photographs above show a portion of the New Jersey coastal town of Mantoloking, just north of where Hurricane Sandy made landfall.

The top photograph was taken by the Remote Sensing Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on October 31, 2012; the lower image was acquired by the same group on March 18, 2007. The images were acquired from an altitude of roughly 7,500 feet, using a Trimble Digital Sensor System.

The Mantoloking Bridge cost roughly $25 million when it was opened in 2005 to replace a bridge built in 1938. After Sandy passed through on October 29, 2012, the bridge was covered in water, sand, and debris from houses; county officials closed it because they considered it unstable.

On the barrier island, entire blocks of houses along Route 35 (also called Ocean Boulevard) were damaged or completely washed away by the storm surge and wind. Fires raged in the town from natural gas lines that had ruptured and ignited. A new inlet was cut across the island, connected the Atlantic Ocean and the Jones Tide Pond.

Original Article, NASA

Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms, USGS
Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the coast of southern New Jersey on Monday, Oct. 29th. Elevated water levels and powerful waves associated with the storm led to wide-spread beach and dune erosion along much of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Prior to landfall, USGS scientists used modeled storm surge and wave conditions and observations of beach and dune elevations to determine what types of coastal change might be expected during landfall.

Updated Assessment of Potential Coastal-Change Impacts, USGS
USGS has developed a storm-impact scale that predicts the likelihood of coastal change by comparing modeled elevations of storm-induced water levels to known elevations of coastal topography in order to define three coastal change regimes. These regimes describe how beach morphology (physical form) and storm processes tend to interact, and the resulting modes of coastal change along beaches and dunes, which often serve as the “first line of defense” for many coasts exposed to tropical storms and hurricanes.

Sampling Water for Pollution in Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath

Aerial pictures of North Carolina’s coast, after superstorm Sandy devastated the area. Highway 12. Photo courtesy of: © PSDS / WCU


As recovery efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy continue, U.S. Geological Survey crews are sampling water for nutrients, sediment, and pesticides to document water quality in areas affected by the hurricane. This sampling effort is part of the federal government’s broad efforts to ensure public health and to support the state, tribal, and local response to the storm.

“We tend to think of events like Sandy in terms of the ephemeral effect of the wind, rain, waves, and even snow as it swept through our communities, but in fact this superstorm can have a longer-term effect in the large pulse of sediment and associated pollutants swept into our waterways,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “It is particularly important to quantify the input of this one unusual event before concluding that certain efforts to reduce pollutant run-off from year to year have or have not been effective.”

Sampling is taking place at various locations. In New Jersey, crews will collect water quality samples along the Delaware River near Trenton and along the Raritan River near Queens Bridge. Pennsylvania crews will be sampling near the Chesapeake Bay. In Maryland, water quality samples will be collected from the Potomac River, various sites in Washington, D.C., several locations along the Eastern Shore, and from the Susquehanna River at the Conowingo Dam. In addition, Virginia crews will be sampling throughout Northern Virginia. USGS crews will be sampling in these and other areas for contaminants like pesticides, E. coli, nutrients, and sediment to document water quality in areas affected by the hurricane.

“Significant high water events are important to document, because a storm event like this can flush large quantities of nutrients, pesticides, and sediment into rivers,” said Charles Crawford, coordinator of the sampling effort. “When looking at long-term water quality trends and year-to-year variation, this hurricane could be a defining event for the past few decades, and it’s important that USGS captures a complete picture of what happens.”

Excessive nutrients in the Nation’s rivers, streams and coastal areas are a major issue for water managers, because they cause algal blooms that increase costs to treat drinking water, limit recreational activities, and threaten valuable commercial and recreational fisheries. Increased sediment can cause costly changes in shipping channels, where new sediment can require additional dredging.

“The USGS creates models that relate nutrient, pesticide and sediment concentrations to how much water is flowing,” said Crawford. “In order to have the most accurate model, it’s important to document concentrations during a high flow event such as this one.”

Photo courtesy of: © PSDS / WCU

Original Article, USGS

Pollution & Debris Stirred by Sandy Threaten Coastal Waters, OurAmazingPlanet
Local officials in New York City are warning residents to steer clear of the potentially toxic soup, particularly around areas like the Gowanus Canal Superfund site. But the contaminated waters are also raising concerns among those who monitor the health of beaches and bays along the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Arthur Kill Oil Spill: Diesel Cleanup Continues, Huffington Post
During the peak of superstorm Sandy, a storm surge and full-moon high tide coincided to cause waters to rise an unprecedented 13 feet in some parts of New York Bay. Among the mounting devastation, hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel spilled into Arthur Kill, a narrow waterway separating New Jersey and Staten Island.

BE THE CHANGE: TO ACT: Info / Link List:

Waves For WaterHurricane Sandy Relief Initiative Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative.
Waves for Water has coordinated a full-fledged Hurricane Relief Initiative in response to Super Storm Sandy that has absolutely decimated the North Eastern seaboard.

American Red Cross
The Red Cross is providing shelter, clothes, supplies, food and blood, as needed, for the victims of Sandy.

Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is providing meals and shelter.

Humane Society
Many pet owners were able to take their pets with them, but for those who were not, the Humane Society’s Animal Rescue Team is assembling staff and equipment to help rescue pets in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

American Humane Association
The association is helping animals that may need rescue or shelter.

Habitat For Humanity
Habitat, an international organization, helps those in need rebuild their homes after disaster strikes.

Community Foodbank Of New Jersey
This group coordinates efforts with the state’s Office of Emergency Management, as well as with state and local nonprofit organizations.

Feeding America
The organization will deliver food, water and supplies to communities in need through its network of food banks and the agencies they serve.

This group provides emergency medicine and supplies. Donations are accepted on its accepts donations on its website.

New York Cares
This local NYC program is “the city’s largest volunteer organization, running volunteer programs for 1,300 nonprofits, city agencies and public schools.” It is recruiting volunteers to help with Sandy relief efforts, and is also raising money.

Direct Relief International
The organization provides medicine and supplies to partner health centers and clinics.

NYC Mayor’s Fund
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City charity supports “impactful public programs serving some of the City’s greatest needs.”

Sandy Slaps Outer Banks As She Goes By

Aerial pictures of North Carolina’s coast, Highway NC 12, after superstorm Sandy devastated the area. Photo courtesy of: © Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) / WCU


Sound-side storm surge, expected to be as high as six feet along the Outer Banks, was not as serious as forecast Monday night, when winds from Hurricane Sandy shifted and threatened the backsides of the barrier islands…

The ocean flooded neighborhoods, covered N.C. 12 and felled a pier along the Outer Banks as Hurricane Sandy went by. Hatteras Island is once again cut off from the rest of the world…

Read Full Article, Coastal review Online

Wild Is The Wind

Sandy Aftermath, Lower Manhattan. Photo source: ©© Giladlotan


This week’s storm showed American crisis management at its best, yet raised questions about long-term planning…

Read Full Article, The Economist

Sandy Reminds Us of Coastal Hazards, by Robert Young
“As hard as it may be to think about while people are still being plucked from rooftops, storms like Hurricane Sandy represent an opportunity to change the vulnerability footprint of a coastal community…”

Post Sandy: Aerial Images of VA, MD, DE and NJ (south of Atlantic City)

View more aerial pictures of New Jersey’s coast, after superstorm Sandy devastated the area: Photo courtesy of: © A PSDS / WCU Photo Gallery.

View More: Atlantic City to Cape May and DE Bay shore, PSDS Photos gallery, Picassa Web

View More: Ocean City MD to Parramore Island VA, PSDS Photos gallery, Picassa Web

View More: VA Cedar Island and Parramore Island, PSDS Photos gallery, Picassa Web

Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS), Western Carolina University

Post Sandy: Aerial Images of North Carolina’ s coast

Aerial pictures of North Carolina’ s coast, after superstorm Sandy devastated the area. Highway 12. Photo courtesy of: © A PSDS / WCU Photo Gallery.

View more aerial pictures of North Carolina’s coast, after superstorm Sandy devastated the area: © A PSDS / WCU Photo Gallery.

View More: PSDS Photos gallery, Picassa Web

Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS), Western Carolina University

Other Recent Aerial Views From The East Coast:

Sandy From Above SlideShow, Yahoo News /AP

Sandy From Above SlideShow, AP

New Jersey, Devastated, AP

Sandy And Caribbean Devastation

Photo source: ©© IOM Haiti


Hurricane Sandy’s toll in the Caribbean amounts to at least 69 dead, thousands homeless and few funds available to rebuild.

In light of the difficulty to rebuild in some of the impoverished areas of the Caribbean, especially Haiti, the United Nations will be appealing for emergency aid.

The majority of deaths and the most extensive damage fell upon Haiti, already devastated by the 2010 earthquake. The storm passed to the west of the country, but dumped more than 20 inches (51cm) of rain in 24 hours, causing rivers to overflow.

The damage is especially significant there because the country already had about 400,000 homeless since the deadly earthquake. Now 200,000 more had been added to the list because of Sandy.

Read Full Article, “Other side of Sandy: Caribbean devastation”, RT

Haiti fears food shortages after hurricane, BBC News

Images: Caribbean devastation After Sandy, First Post World

Caribbean nations count cost of hurricane Sandy, Guardian UK

Hurricane Sandy: CARE responds in Haiti and Cuba, Reuters
Hurricane Sandy has brought shared misery to the United States and the Caribbean and it left a trail of destruction behind.

Caribbean Faces Increasing Fury of Storms, IPS

Sandy Reminds Us of Coastal Hazards, by Robert Young

Photo source: ©© Irargerich

By Dr. Robert S. Young, Director, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines and Professor of coastal geology at Western Carolina University

Hurricane Sandy will almost certainly join the pantheon of “costliest storms in history.”The impacts of the storm have been felt as far inland as Toronto, Ontario and coastal erosion and flooding affected beaches from South Carolina to southern Massachusetts. There has been massive damage to significant segments of the New Jersey and New York coastal infrastructure.

As hard as it may be to think about while people are still being plucked from rooftops, storms like Hurricane Sandy represent an opportunity to change the vulnerability footprint of a coastal community- a chance to reassess the exposure to future storms and long-term sea level rise.

Predicting the likelihood of wind damage 50 miles from the coast is impossible, but we have a far better grasp of coastal flood and erosion hazards. Every coastal community has its hazard hotspots.These are the places that cause local governments multiple headaches. Even small storms cause flooding and erosion and large storms like Hurricane Sandy cause catastrophic property damage.

Despite the recognition of the hazard, we have failed miserably at keeping infrastructure and development out of these highly vulnerable areas. This is largely due to the fact that federal and state governments provide multiple incentives to rebuild, rather than relocate.

The continuing saga of Dauphin Island, Alabama is an instructive example. The west end of Dauphin Island is arguably the most vulnerable shoreline in the United States. It has been impacted by tropical storms ten times since Hurricane Frederic in 1979. This has cost the federal taxpayer approximately $80 Million for an area around 1 square mile with only 400 homes. Access to the island was shut off once again this summer during Hurricane Issac, even though the storm struck hundreds of miles away.

The monies for this rebuilding come largely through the public assistance sections of the 1988 Stafford Act. This is the legislation that created the federal system of emergency response that we are all so familiar with. When the President makes a federal disaster declaration for a county, aid dollars flow in with few strings attached. And, as with Dauphin Island, those dollars are often used to replace the same infrastructure over, and over again.

… As hard as it may be to think about while people are still being plucked from rooftops, storms like Hurricane Sandy represent an opportunity to change the vulnerability footprint of a coastal community…”
—Robert Young

The Federal Flood Insurance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides vulnerable properties access to flood insurance that would not be available in private markets. Many states have government managed “wind pools” to keep the rates for non-flood property insurance artificially low. The largest insurer of coastal property in the state of Florida is the State of Florida through its Citizen’s Property Insurance Corporation. Private losses not covered by insurance are often written off at tax time, an indirect federal subsidy of risky development.

Finally, federal and state taxpayers have spent billions of dollars over the last four decades pumping up beaches in front of coastal properties (beach nourishment) and constructing coastal protection projects. In New Jersey alone, approximately $1 Billion in public funds have been spent just to keep beaches in front of the state’s investment homes and oceanfront infrastructure.

Even more mind-boggling is the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency treats beach nourishment projects as infrastructure. If a storm washes away your beach, taxpayers will put it back.

In North Carolina, $33 Million has been spent to replace sand from beaches eroded by named storms. In most cases, these communities suffered no other significant property damage, but taxpayers were still on the hook for the sand (and will be again). One of the hidden costs of Hurricane Sandy up and down the east coast will be the federal funds used to put the sand back in front of the houses.

It really shouldn’t be like this.Taxpayers should not be subsidizing the risk of irresponsible development, and we clearly shouldn’t be rebuilding areas of known hazard multiple times. We need to incentivize coastal adaptation to storms and sea level rise. At the very least, we need to allow market forces to set insurance rates and property values without the current government subsidy and risk underwriting.

Let’s take the hardest hit coastal area from Hurricane Sandy- New Jersey and New York. A study released in March 2012 by Ben Strauss and Climate Central listed New York and New Jersey among those states most vulnerable to sea level rise. These shorelines will only become more vulnerable with time, and more costly to maintain.

Hurricane Sandy is a chance to change that calculus. Let’s hope that federal, state, and local governments can come together to rebuild infrastructure in a way that will reduce future vulnerability, and limit taxpayer exposure. Ultimately, let’s hope that government at all levels can finally take the issue seriously.

Every storm like Hurricane Sandy is an opportunity to change the way we have been doing business.

Let’s take it.

Originally Published in, USA Today

Is Sandy a Taste of Things to Come?

Sandy Aftermath. The photo of what’s left of a large, stabilized dune in Kitty Hawk was taken during the morning, not long after high tide on Oct. 29. It was taken from the perspective of looking down the center line of N.C. 12, which is covered by sand, water and debris. Captions and Photo source: ©© NCDOT Communications


We should not be surprised.

That’s the view of many climate scientists as they survey the destruction wrought by the superstorm that ravaged the Northeast this week. The melting of Arctic ice, rising sea levels, the warming atmosphere and changes to weather patterns are a potent combination likely to produce storms and tidal surges of unprecedented intensity, according to many experts.

Recognizing the threat, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is developing a strategy for mitigating the growing risk from storm surges and flooding along the city’s 500 miles of coastline.

Read Full Article, CNN

Experts warn of superstorm era to come, CNN
Superstorm Sandy was no freak, say experts, but rather a hint of a coming era when millions of Americans will struggle to survive killer weather. Should New York think of its coastline as a threat? Is it the new Amsterdam? Maybe, say experts. But even a city as inventive as the Big Apple can only do so much…