The Upper Classmen: Blog 7

  1. Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states and the entire eastern seaboard. It was the fourth-costliest US storm, costing an estimated $71 billion. Sandy is directly responsible for at least 147 deaths in the Northeast United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Sandy made first landfall in Jamaica on October 24th. After leaving that island, the storm gained strength over open water and became a Category 2. The storm hit Cuba early October 25th, then weakened to a Category 1. On Oct. 26th, it swept across the Bahamas. Sandy weakened to a tropical storm on October 27th, then gained strength again to become a Category 1 hurricane while turning north toward the U.S. coast. Hurricane Sandy hit the United States about 8 p.m. on October 29th 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. On October 30th, Sandy moves away from New York, toward Pennsylvania, but is still drenching the Northeast. On October 31st, Sandy finally dissipates over western Pennsylvania. At one point, Sandy’s hurricane-force winds extended up to 175 miles from its center and tropical storm-force winds out to 485 miles. Sandy’s strength and angle of approach produced a record storm surge of water into New York City. The surge level topped 13.88 feet, surpassing the 10.02 feet record water level set by Hurricane Donna in 1960. 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. About twenty other fires were started throughout the New York metro area. Hurricane Sandy combined an end-of-season Category 1 hurricane with a cold front and a second storm, turning rain into snow. More than 8 million people were without power, as stations flooded and trees fell on power lines. More than 15,000 flights into East Coast airports were canceled. As of the Tuesday following the storm, all three New York airports were closed. New York subways were flooded with seawater and remained closed until the following Wednesday. (This was the worst damage in its 108-year history.) Limited bus service was restored Tuesday afternoon. Service was fully reactivated by the following Wednesday. Bridges and roadways were closed in Manhattan, but the East River bridges opened the following Tuesday.
  2. Hurricane Sandy is portrayed in articles following the disaster as full of fury as well as displaying damages in the city. In One such article, titled, “Hurricane Sandy Hits New York in 2012” is explains how the hurricane whipped around a crane that did much damage to many of the buildings around the city. Years later, the hurricane is still affecting people. An article that was written in 2017 titled “How to hurricane Proof your house” explains the measures one should take after the damages done by Hurricane Sandy and how to take protective measures for your family. As readers can see, the articles immediately following the disaster report on the damages done and the impact that the hurricane had on the civilian population, and then following that later articles are written for preventative measures in order to prepare people living around sites of natural disasters for the worst that could happen. Some articles that are in the middle of this time period talk about tracking the storm as it travels across certain states, so these articles are written to keep people updated on the path and trajectory of the hurricane in order to warn people that are in the path to evacuate to safety as well as a way of recording history as it happens.   
  3. There were multiple problems that contributed to the devastating human and material impacts following Hurricane Sandy. One was that much of the infrastructure, buildings, and shore houses in New York and New Jersey were not constructed with the proper materials that can withstand flooding and high wind speeds. Second is the scarce amount of resources following the storm. For example, New Jerseyans had to wait every other day in order to buy gas for their cars and power generators due to the limited amount of gasoline.
  4. There are multiple strategies communities can use to protect themselves from future hazard events such as Hurricane Sandy. One is to build flood walls near rivers, bays, and shorelines along the New York and New Jersey coastline. Second is to rebuild and/or renovate buildings that contain boilers, electrical systems, or vital resources for human life with more durable equipment. This equipment includes includes doors made with Kevlar curtains and prohibiting resources to be kept on ground level floors. Third is to have shoreline houses elevated safely from ground level. These shoreline houses can be composed of concrete and steel or other robust materials that can withstand significant flooding and high wind speeds.
  5. One potential barrier that can affect this strategy is the cost to renovate and/or rebuild the shoreline houses, buildings, and floodwalls is the total cost. This barrier can be minimized by arguing that it is important to spend this money now and be prepared for another disaster rather than take risks and potentially deal with another horrific aftermath similar to Hurricane Sandy. A second barrier is the argument that New York and New Jersey have not experienced another storm such as Hurricane Sandy in the past six years, highlighting that a storm of this significance happens on occasion. This barrier can be minimized by arguing that research is showing how weather has become more severe over the last couple of decades, correlating with the effects of climate change. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for this extreme weather, as data insists that these types of severe storms are going to continue overtime as a result of climate change.

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