For my case study, I chose to study Hurricane Sandy particularly the states, New Jersey and New York, since the hurricane was a massive event. In addition, it is well-documented and attracted a lot of media coverage. It related well to preparation and mitigation and was a wakeup call for those states regarding climate change and proper mitigation. 

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey on October 29, 2012. The hurricane had traveled along the East Coast and made landfall in New Jersey. The storm was stalled over the New Jersey area by a high pressure storm which caused it to sit over the area for 2 days. Sandy was typically considered a “post-tropical cyclone”, not a hurricane, but that did not stop it from bringing mass destruction. Another thing to note is the size of the storm system. The system stretched to be 1,000 miles wide which is 3 times larger than Hurricane Katrina. The main damage of the storm was caused by the storm surges. The storms arrival coincided with high tide, making the storm surge higher than expected. The storm surge flooded way beyond the boundaries predicted, causing immense amounts of damage. 

The storm killed 43 people in the continental United States, but 172 people all together. Many of those deaths are due to the rapid flooding which occurred in New York and New Jersey. As previously stated, the extensive amount of flooding was not expected. The population was prepared and expected the storm, but not that extent. Coastal and urban areas were inundated with flood water, debris and sand. The urbanization of New York City plays a role because there are limited spaces where floodwater can be absorbed, so city officials had to pump out the floodwater. New York City has power restored quickly and floodwater and debris removed fast, however the rebuilding process has taken a while for those coastal areas. Articles stated that there were still areas being rebuild six years later after the hurricane. 

 A coastal town in New Jersey taken over by debris after the surge has gone.

The states and individuals affected received funding from the government in relief packages. In 2013, Congress passed the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act to ensure for better communication and recovery times for the next major disaster. There has been more of a focus on climate change as it has been proven that the storm was intensified because of climate change. The areas affected have spend time and money strengthening their mitigation actions like building high seawalls. It will be interesting to see what the next storm of this magnitude does and if those mitigation actions and preparation will help. 



  1. It was definitely interesting reading about Hurricane Sandy again! I remember the impact of this when it had originally occurred and I think I had a day or 2 off from school because of this event. That’s crazy that even 6 years after this event they were still rebuilding. I wouldn’t;t have expected it to take so long to do this especially in places like new york.

  2. I hadn’t actually studied Hurricane Sandy before, only Hurricane Katrina and so I found it very interesting to read that it was 3 times larger than Hurricane Katrina! I suppose it has taken so long to rebuild because they just weren’t prepared for the storm to be as strong as it was and so in such areas like New York with a high GDP per capita – so much money would have been lost. However, as you said, this storm will help preparations and mitigations be much more efficient if a storm of a similar size – or worse occurs!

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