1Tropical Cyclone ReportHurricane Sandy(AL182012)22 – 29 October 2012Eric S. Blake, Todd B. Kimberlain, Robert J. Berg, John P. Cangialosi and John L. Beven IINational Hurricane Center12 February 2013Sandy was a classic late-season hurricane in the southwestern Caribbean Sea. Thecyclone made landfall as a category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) inJamaica, and as a 100-kt category 3 hurricane in eastern Cuba before quickly weakening to acategory 1 hurricane while moving through the central and northwestern Bahamas. Sandyunderwent a complex evolution and grew considerably in size while over the Bahamas, andcontinued to grow despite weakening into a tropical storm north of those islands. The system re-strengthened into a hurricane while it moved northeastward, parallel to the coast of thesoutheastern United States, and reached a secondary peak intensity of 85 kt while it turnednorthwestward toward the mid-Atlantic states. Sandy weakened somewhat and then madelandfall as a post-tropical cyclone near Brigantine, New Jersey with 70-kt maximum sustainedwinds. Because of its tremendous size, however, Sandy drove a catastrophic storm surge into theNew Jersey and New York coastlines. Preliminary U.S. damage estimates are near $50 billion,making Sandy the second-costliest cyclone to hit the United States since 1900
. There were atleast 147 direct deaths
recorded across the Atlantic basin due to Sandy, with 72 of thesefatalities occurring in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. This is the greatestnumber of U.S. direct fatalities related to a tropical cyclone outside of the southern states sinceHurricane Agnes in 1972.a.
Synoptic HistorySandy’s origin is primarily associated with a tropical wave that left the west coast of Africa on 11 October. The wave encountered a large upper-level trough over the eastern Atlanticon 12-13 October and produced an extensive area of showers and thunderstorms, but the shearwas too strong for development. Little convection occurred near the wave axis for the nextseveral days, likely due to upper-level convergence over the tropical Atlantic to the east of Hurricane Rafael. During that time, the wave passed near a weak pre-existing disturbance in theIntertropical Convergence Zone, and the two systems became difficult to distinguish by 17October. The wave entered the eastern Caribbean Sea early on 18 October, with only a weak wind shift and some showers noted in the Windward Islands. Disorganized convection then
When not adjusted for inflation, population and wealth normalization. Sandy ranks sixth when accounting forthose factors (records of costliest cyclones began in 1900).
Deaths occurring as a direct result of the forces of the cyclone are referred to as “direct” deaths. These wouldinclude those persons who drowned in storm surge, rough seas, rip currents, and freshwater floods. Direct deathsalso include casualties resulting from lightning and wind-related events (e.g., collapsing structures). Deathsoccurring from such factors as heart attacks, house fires, electrocutions from downed power lines, vehicle accidentson wet roads, etc., are considered “indirect” deaths.