NOAA GOES-13 image of Sandy at 6:02 a.m. EDT Tuesday (Oct. 30).
Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project
Origin of storm Sandy began as a tropical wave in the Caribbean on Oct. 19. It quickly developed, becoming a tropical depression and then a tropical storm in just six hours. Tropical Storm Sandy was the 18th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It was upgraded to a hurricane on Oct. 24 when its maximum sustained winds reached 74 mph (119 kph).
Sandy tore through the Caribbean, making landfall at Jamaica on Oct. 24. After leaving that island, the storm gained strength over open water and became a Category 2. The storm hit Cuba early Oct. 25, then weakened to a Category 1. On Oct. 26, it swept across the Bahamas. Sandy briefly weakened to a tropical storm on Oct. 27, then gained strength again to become a Category 1 hurricane before turning north toward the U.S. coast.
Sandy slams Jersey shore
Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the United States about 8 p.m. EDT Oct. 29, striking near Atlantic City, N.J., with winds of 80 mph. A full moon made high tides 20 percent higher than normal and amplified Sandy's storm surge. Streets were flooded, trees and power lines knocked down and the city's famed boardwalk was ripped apart. Along the Jersey shore, people were left stranded in their homes and waited for rescue teams in boats to rescue them. More than 80 homes were destroyed in one fire in Queens. Several other fires were started throughout the New York metro area.
Seawater surged over Lower Manhattan's seawalls and highways and into low-lying streets. The water inundated tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street and sent hospital patients and tourists scrambling for safety. Skyscrapers swayed and creaked in winds that partially toppled a crane 74 stories above Midtown. A large tanker ship ran aground on the city's Staten Island. As of Nov. 1, about 4.7 million people in 15 states were without electricity, down from nearly 8.5 million a day earlier. Subway tunnels in Lower Manhattan remained flooded,...
More here at Live Science.
Many millions of dollars in damage was done to properties as Sandy cut a wide swath across America. Although exact figures are still not known, the death toll was also devastating:
Sandy killed nearly 110 people in the United States and an additional 72 people that lived in the Caribbean and Canada. The total death count is still uncertain as of today as some reports assert that the death toll is higher in the United States.
Sandy was responsible for nearly $65 billion (U.S) dollars in damage.
Satellite image of Sandy shortly before landfall on October 29, 2012. Image via NASA/GSFC Hurricanes vary in size and intensity, but Hurricane Sandy spread tropical storm winds over 900 miles, and typical systems are roughly 200 to 400 miles across. (EarthSky)
Hurricane Sandy showed no mercy, no discrimination, and the world watched as heartbreaking pictures emerged. From The Telegraph of the UK:
This aerial view, taken during a search and rescue mission by 1-150 Assault Helicopter Battalion, shows the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy to the New Jersey coast Picture: REUTERS/Mark C. Olsen/U.S. Air Force
The Plaza along Water Street in lower Manhattan is flooded after Superstorm Sandy hit New York City Picture: EPA/JUSTIN LANE
Rising water, caused by Superstorm Sandy, rushes into a subterranean parking garage in the Financial District of New York Picture: Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Picture: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
A 'keep off the dunes' sign is buried in Cape May, NJ, after a storm surge from superstorm Sandy pushed the Atlantic Ocean over the beach and into the streets Picture: Mel Evans/AP
An emergency worker carries an elderly resident from flood waters brought on by Superstorm Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey Picture: REUTERS/Adam Hunger
An ambulance is stuck in over a foot of snow near Belington, West Virginia. Superstorm Sandy buried parts of West Virginia under more than a foot of snow, cutting power to at least 264,000 customers and closing dozens of roads .Picture: Robert Ray/AP
The pictures above are just an overview - a few - of a series of photographs by the Telegraph, and while they give some sense of the overwhelming devastation, they don't come close to showing the impact on people's personal lives.
BBC ran a feature on November 3, 2012, just days after Hurricane Sandy:
The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues to affect the US East Coast.
Some 2.5 million homes and businesses still have no electricity.
Petrol shortages have also caused forecourt confrontations from New Jersey to Connecticut.
BBC News website readers caught up in the devastation have been describing the difficulties they and those around them are facing.
Daphay Sanchez, Staten IslandStorm Sandy took us by surprise. We didn't expect to be hit hard and we didn't evacuate. When we realised our yard was flooded and more water was coming, it was too late to move.
We had to climb on top of our roof to get away from the water as it started entering the house.The power went off, it was pitch-dark and we were scared. We had to tie ourselves to each other, because the winds were very strong.
I had my laptop with me and kept posting cries for help. We stayed on the roof for eight hours before we were rescued.
It was a terrible night. Many people in our neighbourhood lost their lives.
More on her story, and others, here...
Sadly, stories such as those were not unique. Through the power of social media, many of us miles away got to witness (and in a few cases, share) some of these cries for help.. Throughout the night, we all witnessed First Responders facing incredible dangers as they didn't hesitate to rescue those most vulnerable.
An amazing video clip here: Hurricane Sandy: NY firefighter tells of Queens rescueAcross social media , people around the world shared pleas for help from people who were trapped. Calls for volunteers went out via groups such as Rockaway Relief, Occupy Sandy Relief NJ,
Occupy Sandy, Team Rubicon and many others.
Great article on Team Rubicon's initial efforts here.
One of the First Responders was police officer Robert Franco. From Wayne Patch:
Injured Officer Returns to Light Duty a Year After Sandy
Officer Robert Franco was nearly killed when a tree fell on his patrol car during Superstorm Sandy.Posted by Daniel Hubbard
October 28, 2013
A year after he was nearly killed in a horrific accident during Superstorm Sandy, Officer Robert Franco is back on the job.
Franco nearly died when a tree fell and crushed his patrol car on Lake Drive West while responding to the scene of a ruptured gas line.
“I thought I was going to die,” Franco said last December. “I said whatever prayers I could and thought of my family.”
Franco’s bulletproof vest was strangling him and there were live electrical wires around the vehicles. Powerful wind gusts blew down hundreds of trees throughout the township. The trees fell on top of vehicles and houses, many taking power lines with them.
“For 26 years I’ve been involved in emergency services and in all that time, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Franco said.
It took paramedics an hour to remove Franco from the vehicle....
Much more here.
Many, many others rushed into the fray, risking their own lives to serve those in their communities as they battled Mother Nature . Most of them, we will never hear about, but to those they saved, they ARE all Heroes.
What of the politicians, the government agencies? POTUS did a fly over NJ, and then did a photo-op with Gov. Christie. (No, you don't need me to share any of those pictures.) FEMA had updates on their own website. The usual major relief agencies called for donations:
American Red Cross:
Posted December 19, 2012
The American Red Cross, which will spend an estimated $110 million by the end of December on Superstorm Sandy emergency relief, is working closely with government and community partners on longer-term recovery efforts for survivors.The initial Red Cross recovery plan, developed in coordination with FEMA and other partners to identify and address unmet needs, is estimated to cost another $60 million. Any Sandy donation beyond what is used for emergency relief and this initial recovery plan will be used for other longer-term needs of those affected by this disaster....
(Depending on who you talked to, and where they lived, stories varied as to how visible - or helpful, the Red Cross was on the ground. )
Long Island Harvest was just one food bank who sprang into action to fill the needs of local residents who lost everything.
Thanksgiving was hard for many communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and local businesses donated turkeys etc to remind them that they were not overlooked. From the Examiner: