Last Year a Snowstorm, This Year a Hurricane? Really?

  • #126
Evo
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It was still only a category 1 hurricane and did damage expected of a cat 1 hurricane, no worse. Areas of damage were spotty. I hate it when things like this get so exaggerated. It covered a large area and as was mentioned earlier that makes restoral efforts slower since you can't concentrate crews in a small area.

But the power of a category-1 hurricane should not be downplayed. Category-1 hurricanes can cause significant damage, such as uprooting mature trees, ripping off roof shingles, or even toppling mobile homes.

And there’s no guarantee that a higher category hurricane will inflict more damage. For example, a category-2 that strikes an unprepared metropolitan area might wreak more havoc than a category-4 that hits a rural area. To determine the potential for damage, population density, total rainfall, and local terrain all need to be taken into consideration.

Read more at http://hotword.dictionary.com/categ...-the-numbers-really-mean/#l6kWs1tQILF5pwGZ.99

Category 1Category 1
Sustained winds 33–42 m/s 64–82 kn
Hurricane Lester near landfall
119–153 km/h 74–95 mph
Normal central pressure, with exceptions 980–994 mbar 28.94 inHg
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage

Category 1 storms usually cause no significant structural damage to most well-constructed permanent structures; however, they can topple unanchored mobile homes, as well as uproot or snap numerous trees. Poorly attached roof shingles or tiles can blow off. Coastal flooding and pier damage are often associated with Category 1 storms. Power outages are typically widespread to extensive, sometimes lasting several days. Even though it is the least intense type of hurricane, the storm can still produce widespread damage and can be a life-threatening storm.[5]
I lived through hurricane Carla in houston. Now THAT was a hurricane. 300 miles of coastline affected
Carla made landfall on the afternoon of the 11th on the northeast part of Matagorda Island as a strong Category 4 hurricane with a minimum central pressure of 931 millibars, or 27.49 inches of mercury, and sustained winds of 145 mph
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/crp/?n=hurricanecarla

That's worse than Sandy. It will always stay in my mind. My aunt and uncle were visiting from France due to my Uncle's temporary assignment in houston. They were staying at a nearby apartment on the second floor. My mother demanded that they come stay with us since we lived in an experimental steel frame and brick one story home.

A couple of days after the storm and streets were getting cleared so people could drive, we went to their apartment complex, which no longer had a second floor.

I feel for the people that had damage, but growing up in houston, I am all too familiar with tropical Storms and hurricanes and it really irks me when storms are blown out of proportion.
 
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  • #127
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One may also wonder about the integrated kinectic energy of these storms
 
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  • #128
Astronuc
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It was still only a category 1 hurricane and did damage expected of a cat 1 hurricane, no worse. Areas of damage were spotty. I hate it when things like this get so exaggerated. It covered a large area and as was mentioned earlier that makes restoral efforts slower since you can't concentrate crews in a small area.
. . . .
I lived through hurricane Carla in houston. Now THAT was a hurricane. 300 miles of coastline affected

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/crp/?n=hurricanecarla

That's worse than Sandy.
Actually, about 350 to 400 miles of coastline just in NJ and Long Island were affected - flooded and/or affected by high wind. On Long Island alone, the authorities estimate 100,000 homes and commercial buildings were damaged or destroyed (not sure if that includes parts of NYCity, e.g., Brooklyn and Queens). A similarly large number in NJ were affected.

Those numbers don't include NC, VA, PA, DE or CT. Damage seems to be spotty in those states.

I don't think the threat of the storm was exaggerated in NJ and NY. It seems to have been spot on.
 
  • #129
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It appears that most of the damage was due to flooding. It seems Sandies landfall was close to high -full moon- tide which added some height to the average sea level during high tide, for a total of 13.88 feet.

For comparison, notice that the great gale of 1821 hit during low tide:

The hurricane produced a storm surge of 13 feet (4 m) in only one hour at Battery Park. Manhattan Island was completely flooded to Canal Street; one hurricane researcher remarked that the storm surge flooding would have been much worse, had the hurricane not struck at low tide.[13]
The average difference in low and high tide at NY is about 6 feet, suggesting that the 1821 event might have been at 18-19 feet had it been at high tide too. And maybe the height of Sandies flooding could have been around 8 feet, had it been at low tide.

Apparantly the message is that things happen and then they happen again.
 
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  • #130
D H
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It was still only a category 1 hurricane and did damage expected of a cat 1 hurricane, no worse.
Sandy did a lot more damage than expected of a "typical" category 1 hurricane. The Saffir-Simpson scale is lousy at predicting storm surge, rainfall amounts, economic damage, and death. Hurricane experts have been trying to steer governments, meteorologists/weather forecasters, and the public away from the Saffir-Simpson scale for the last five to ten years. Integrated Kinetic Energy appears to be a much better metric, and this explains in part why Sandy was wreaked so much damage. It's not exaggerated.
 
  • #131
russ_watters
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I suppose it depends on what you are trying to predict. Integrated KE would presumably be a good predictor of total damage, but storm intensity would be a better predictor of intensity of damage. Ie, a large category 1 hurricane will produce a lot of damage over a wide area, but a small category 5 hurricane is still more likely to kill you if you try to ride it out.
 
  • #132
mheslep
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I think the results you mention would not be expected to be a function of just Saffir-Simpson, but rather something like

[surge, damage, death] = f(Saffir-Simpson, low/high tide, moon cycle, population density, property value)
 
  • #133
Astronuc
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One may also wonder about the integrated kinectic energy of these storms
Why? I think those concerned are looking for a better metric, as in

∫ ρ(x) v2(x) dV, where x is the position vector, and the integration is over the volume, and v is the wind velocity. Then there is the tidal effect (flooding) which is quite separate.

We can wonder all we want about the IKE of historic storms, but since there is no way to measure the wind field or size, it would not seem possible to determine the IKE.

I suppose it depends on what you are trying to predict. Integrated KE would presumably be a good predictor of total damage, but storm intensity would be a better predictor of intensity of damage. Ie, a large category 1 hurricane will produce a lot of damage over a wide area, but a small category 5 hurricane is still more likely to kill you if you try to ride it out.
It depends on the size (diameter) and how quickly the hurricane dissipates.

Clearly, the winds of Sandy were not as destructive as those of Andrew. But the associated tidal surge into a densely populated area has been rather destructive.

I think the results you mention would not be expected to be a function of just Saffir-Simpson, but rather something like

[surge, damage, death] = f(Saffir-Simpson, low/high tide, moon cycle, population density, property value)
The damage models will have to consider the destruction/damage from winds + destruction/damage from flooding.

Insurance companies will have to rethink their risk models, just like Japan has to rethink their seismic/tsunami risk models. It would appear some communities may have to be totally condemned, since every home was flooded.

There seems to be an increasing trend -
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/dc567855de2aed28ef404de0a22b1a6e.png
 
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  • #134
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which is attributed to increased monitoring capabilities, especially of the very short lived storms (<2 days), which increase toward the end of the period. http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/cms-filesystem-action/user_files/gav/publications/vk_08_recount.pdf [Broken], Landsea et al 2010, http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/cms-filesystem-action/user_files/gav/publications/vk10_hurrrecount.pdf [Broken], http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/cms-filesystem-action/user_files/gav/publications/VVKS_10_Shorties.pdf [Broken]
 
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  • #135
mheslep
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Frequency may be up. Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) in the Atlantic seems to be about flat since 1950 (trendline: y=0.18x + 97)
 
  • #136
Astronuc
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Disappointed NYC marathoners run in aid of Sandy victims
http://news.yahoo.com/disappointed-nyc-marathoners-run-aid-sandy-victims-040500525--spt.html [Broken]
Early Sunday, more than 1,000 people, many of whom had planned to run the race, crowded onto two Staten Island Ferry boats, headed to the stricken borough with relief supplies ranging from food to plastic bags to help residents store belongings from damaged or destroyed homes.

. . . .
 
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  • #137
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Sometime during the night, the power came back on.
 
  • #138
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Disappointed NYC marathoners run in aid of Sandy victims
http://news.yahoo.com/disappointed-nyc-marathoners-run-aid-sandy-victims-040500525--spt.html [Broken]
That's fantastic.
 
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