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. 


Downpour in Florida caused Car Pileup in Florida

A 43 car pileup occurred on State Road 408 in Orlando, Florida after a downpour. The downpour was unexpected, so commuters were caught off guard when visibility decreased significantly, causing the pileup. The road also became slick during the downpour, adding to the situation. Surprisingly, only one person need to be transported to the hospital after the pileup. The storm arrived earlier than expected so the National Weather Service had not given a warning yet.


East Coast Faces Coastal Storm

A coastal storm is coming up the east coast from Florida. It is bringing rain and snow in some areas. The storm is going a variety of warnings like flood warnings, winter storm warnings and high wind warnings throughout the entire coast. Areas from Salisbury, MD to Boston, MA will be heavily impacted. The rain and cold temperatures in Fredericksburg and surrounding areas is the result of this storm as it travels up the coast.  The storm is supposed to dissipate by Tuesday night.




Lake Mead’s Water Supply is Declining

The United States’ largest reservoirs’ water supply is declining. Lake Mead is a reservoir off of the Colorado River near Las Vegas. The reservoir has dropped 143 feet only 1070 feet above sea level. The change in water surface can be seen as it looks like a bathtub ring where there is a stark change in color. This is the lowest it has been since 1930 when the reservoir was filled. Hydrologists had warned about this, but now significant changes need to be made to water consumption in order to not further the drought.


Severe Thunderstorms Warning in South for 3rd Week in a Row

This is the third week in a row where areas of the South have a severe thunderstorm warning. There are concerns about tornados, hail and winds which would damage structures and could cause harm to humans. There were severe thunderstorms and tornados from March 21-23. The system is supposed to hit areas of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi. This is not the first time severe storms have hit these areas recently. From March 21st to 23rd, storms hit parts of New Orleans and Texas and caused damage. The increase in storms may have set a new record for March.




Floods in Queensland and New South Wales

After a 16 day-period of rain in Queensland and New South Wales, the areas have been completely flooded. Buildings, houses and landscapes have all been destroyed. Those effected have began to receive aid from the government. There is more concern for mass movements (landslides, debris flows) once the water has begun drain because of the likelihood of linked hazards. 

This event was recorded as a once in a lifetime event. The event is in part due to La Nina which tends to bring more rain to this area during this time, however it has never been this much before. The article also attributes climate change as another factor contributing to the large amounts of rain Australia has received recently.

Tornados in Iowa

On Saturday (March 5th), about 30 reported tornados ripped through areas in Iowa. They occurred in the southern and central parts of the state. The tornados caused many buildings and structures to collapse and brought hail, causing even more damage. Damage included buildings torn apart, damaged vegetation, down power lines and more. Unfortunately, six people did died in one of the counties hit hard by the tornados, Madison County. There were linked hazards as three thunderstorms were created because of the tornados.


Wildfires in Argentina

High temperatures and a drought in Argentina has caused widespread wildfires in the province, Corrientes. The high temperatures and drought were brought on by La Nina where Argentina often experiences less precipitation and high temperatures. The wildfires have been burning since December in the province. The governor of Corrientes declared a state of emergency and has received aid for authors in order to help contain the fires. The fires have burned more than 520,000 hectares which is more than a million acres about 6% of the province.


Winter Storm Landon Hits the Midwest

Winter Storm, Landon, hit the Midwest leaving snow and ice. Due to the ice many where left without power and with damages to their homes and property. This kind of weather is uncommon for places like Alabama and Texas. The storm is moving through the United States and is expected to hit New England as well.


Landslide Causes Disaster in Ecuador

A landslide occurred in the capital of Ecuador causing 24 deaths and the destructions of a couple of homes. Many individuals were in their homes and had to evacuated very quickly when they heard the rocks begin to fall. The landslide comes after days of rain creating the mudslide. Authorities are trying to do clean up and rescue missions for those who are still missing.