It’s been one year since Sandy struck the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts with powerful winds, rain, and storm surges that caused unprecedented damages in some of the nation’s most populous areas.
Sandy was unique in many ways. It merged with a weather system arriving from the west and transitioned into an extra-tropical cyclone creating a massive storm with impacts far and wide. The extent of its tropical-storm force winds were unusual, stretching from Maine to South Carolina. The storm, driven by wind gusts up to 60 mph, produced waves of up to 20 feet in the middle of the Great Lakes and dumped as much as 36 inches of snow in the central Appalachians. Across the Northeast, where the shoreline suffered devastating impacts, including flooding and beach erosion, Sandy served as a reminder that tropical systems in the Atlantic are not just threats to the Southeast or Gulf Coast.
By providing timely and accurate forecasts and collaborating closely with our partners up to six days in advance — especially the emergency management community, from FEMA to the state and local levels — NOAA’s National Weather Service helped save lives by providing critical information that prompted people to act.
Yet even with this forecasting success, there were many challenges and lessons to be learned. In the year since Sandy struck, we’ve begun to take a series of steps that will bring improvements to the way we operate