Hurricane Sandy, 10 years on: Is New York City ready for the next big one? (2023)

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Ten years ago, Superstorm Sandy delivered a blow to New York that brought the indefatigable city to its knees.

The storm was incomparable to any in city record. A late bloomer of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, climate change and a confluence of weather conditions led to a storm surge of disastrous proportions. The rivers, harbors, canals and oceanfront that helped make New York the iconic city it is today, suddenly became its ultimate vulnerability.

Sandy was also a moment of reckoning for New York City: when the impacts of a climate crisis, long foretold, well and truly arrived.

And still, in the past decade, unabated fossil fuel-burning on an ever-hotter planet has dialled up storm intensity to rival that of Sandy, as the recent devastation in Florida from Hurricane Ian laid bare.

In 2021, Hurricane Ida revealed another deadly twist of climate-amped storms - rapid, record-breaking rainfall. Ida killed 107 people including 13 New Yorkers many of whom drowned as they tried to escape basement apartments.


  • Hurricane Sandy 10 years on: Is New York ready for the next big one?
  • A look back at The Independent’s reporting from America’s ‘shock and awe’ storm
  • Climate activists occupy BlackRock headquarters on third day of New York protests

New York also has rising seas to contend with - one to 1.75 feet is expected by 2050 (a middling estimate from climate scientists which could be higher due to uncertainties around ice sheet melting). The city has already seen sea-level rise about one foot since 1900, which likely increased Sandy’s flood area by 25 square miles and impacted an additional 80,000 homes.

On the 10th anniversary, The Independent looks back at the storm which changed the city forever and what has been done to make New York more resilient.

And what can the challenges of New York - home to powerful players and deep pockets - tell us about how hundreds of other coastal cities will fare in a future of stronger storms?


  • Hurricane Ian's lucrative cleanup deals generate new storm
  • Two-thirds of Americans want more action from government on climate crisis
  • World is on crash course to 2.5C warming, UN warns ahead of Cop27

Sandy’s wrath: 32ft waves, blackouts and fires erupting in floods

Sandy had already made landfall twice when it reached Brigantine, New Jersey, on 29 October, 2012.

Hurricanes in the Northeast typically spin out to the ocean but Sandy got jammed between other weather systems, leading to its now-infamous “left hook” towards New York City. The temperature that night in the Northeastern Atlantic was 3C above average, and the heat further whipped Sandy into a storm of immense power.

The timing could not have been worse. Sandy arrived at high tide and on a full moon in New York Harbor when water levels were elevated by about five feet. Packing 80mph winds and spanning 1,000 miles end-to-end, Sandy drove an enormous coastal surge ashore. The storm tide reached 14 feet with some 32-foot waves, higher than a two-storey building.

Seawater rushed into neighborhoods, flooding 17 per cent (51 square miles) of the city. Water in lower Manhattan rose to eight feet in some streets.

The blows were swift and severe. With an almighty crack, a transformer exploded at a electrical substation on the East River and plunged Manhattan into darkness from Midtown to the Financial District. Some two million people were left in a blackout, and without cell service.

Hurricane Sandy, 10 years later

(Video) Hurricane Sandy 10 Years Later: Is New York City Ready?

Some 44 people were killed. The majority drowned in their homes on Staten Island and others were electrocuted by downed power lines in the water. Sandy impacted the entire Eastern Seaboard and the Caribbean, killing 233 people in all.

With most of New York’s critical infrastructure located in the flood zone, Sandy impacted hospitals, nursing homes, power stations, all of the wastewater treatment plants and a significant chunk of transport.

Some stations of the century-old subway system, the nation’s busiest, filled to their roofs with water. Most road tunnels into Manhattan were swamped, and train tunnels to Brooklyn and neighboring New Jersey. Runways flooded at the two major airports, LaGuardia and JFK, which sit below sea level.

A tanker was driven up a beach in Staten Island while in Queens, three miles of Rockaway boardwalk was obliterated. Breezy Point, which was home to a large number of 9/11 firefighters, erupted in a huge blaze caused by seawater seeping into electrical wiring. More than 100 homes were lost as fire crews fought flames and rescued people by boat in waist-deep in water. On City Island in the Bronx, piers were ripped away and a six-alarm fire broke out.

Around 300 homes were destroyed and more than 69,000 properties were damaged. A quarter of a million vehicles had to be scrapped.

New York City was not alone. Beyond the five boroughs, large areas of New York state and New Jersey were devastated. The Garden State had 38 deaths and 346,000 homes damaged or destroyed. Half the city of Hoboken was left underwater, and a large section of Atlantic City’s historic boardwalk destroyed.

The aftermath: ‘We need to start talking about adaptation’

Sandy’s damages totalled $19bn in New York City (and more than $65bn in the US overall). It was the most expensive storm since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, since been eclipsed by Harvey and Maria. Ian’s losses are still being calculated.

The city received $15bn in federal disaster relief and a further $4.2bn from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The storm also shifted mindsets, said Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time.

At a Council on Foreign Relations [CFR] event this week, he recalled President Barack Obama’s words after Sandy: “The debate about climate change is over. We need to start talking about adaptation.”

Up to that point, the US government was focused on cutting its carbon footprint - as if climate was something for the future “as opposed to something that was already changing,” Fugate said.

“[President] Obama started a shift in federal mindset about what we would need to do differently - that we can’t just rebuild the way it was, and we were going to have incorporate future risk into decision-making.”

Grappling with future risk while adapting more quickly to today’s extreme impacts now involves the interwoven work of thousands of climate scientists, public officials, planning and design experts in New York City alone. And while significant strides have been taken in resiliency, the city remains vulnerable.

In his 10-year assessment of post-Sandy resiliency work, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander described efforts as “plodding”.

“We are definitely not ready for another storm like Sandy,” said Amy Chester, managing director of Rebuild By Design, a nonprofit which grew out of a design competition after the storm, and which is involved in some of the city’s biggest initiatives.

“There are things that have changed but they aren’t enough to meet the level of destruction that Sandy presented. I think the big difference is that we understand what a storm like Sandy can do and how to prepare our property and lives,” she told The Independent.

(Video) Chasing Our Climate: Ep. 4 'Superstorm Sandy 10 Years Later' | NBC New York

“However the large-scale infrastructure that our city and, quite frankly, everywhere else needs to greet a storm like that is not in place yet. And in many cases, it’s not even designed.”

Nonetheless, more destructive storms march on relentlessly. Two of the top three most active Atlantic hurricane seasons were in 2020 and 2021, with 75 per cent of those storms rapidly intensifying before landfall, according to the non-profit Climate Signals.

Then there is the “nasty property” of sea-level rise, Klaus H. Jacob, a geophysicist at Columbia University’s Climate School, and a former member of the mayor’s panel on climate change, explained this week at the CFR event.

“When you raise sea level, you need ever-smaller storms to reach the same height on the ground. That means with smaller storms, since they are more frequent, the risk is amplified drastically,” he said. In downtown Manhattan, for example, this will make some subway stations 70 times more likely to flood by the end of the century compared to 2000.

Dr Jacob called the near-$20bn allocated so far for climate resiliency “a drop in the bucket”.

“What is really needed to make a metropolitan area like New York City resilient for climate impacts of the future, we don’t even yet have a realistic estimate,” he said.

Defences: ‘The Big U’ and $52bn sea gates

Protecting New York City is particularly challenging as it has 520 miles of coastline - more than than Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Boston combined, Jainey K. Bavishi, former director of the New York City Mayor’s office of climate resiliency, said this week.

“We need to get to a place where every policy and investment decision takes climate change into account,” she said, at the CFR event.

Last year, work began on the $1.45bn East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), part of “The Big U” which will eventually wrap around the lower third of Manhattan in a protective collar, buffering future storm surge and sponging up flooding.

The project has been controversial after the city council overhauled plans at the eleventh hour with little warning to local people, many low-income and living in government-subsidized housing, who had spent years involved in the planning process.

The original plan was for 2.2 miles of additional coastline to absorb storm surge and double as a local park. This was thrown out in favour of burying the current East River Park and building an eight-foot flood wall with a park on top. City officials later apologized for not communicating the changes and promised to do better.

But the biggest, and most expensive, proposal is a series of 12 flood gates, created by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the military branch behind major government construction projects like the Pentagon and Kennedy Space Center.

The Corps had originally proposed a single, massive barrier to protect New York Harbor. However that was scrapped in favor of moveable gates to block waterways during a major storm, along with elevating the shoreline and sea walls, at a price tag of $52bn.

The public can comment on the plans through January, and state and local governments will also need to sign off. Among the concerns already raised is that the barriers would divert flooding to other areas and trap sewage and toxins.

Whatever the final plan looks like, building is not expected to begin until 2030 with a completion date of 2044.

“A lot can happen between now and 2044,” Robert Freudenberg, vice president for energy and environment at the Regional Plan Association, told The Independent. “All that being said, this is the only region-wide plan for adaptation, so you can say it’s the best we have.

“We have to evaluate but if neighborhoods don’t want this, what then? You can’t reject protective measures without having a backup plan.”

He added: “I think the challenge is that adaptation is hard. Nobody likes change. And no matter what, change is coming to the shoreline - whether sea-level rise, worse storm surges, or infrastructure projects.”

There has been success with nature-based solutions like restoring marshes, dune elevation and beach nourishment, particularly in badly-impacted Jamaica Bay and the Far Rockaways.

There is also ongoing work on the Living Breakwaters project. It is restoring 2,000 linear feet of reef off the New York coast, years after the vibrant razor oyster habitat was overharvested and destroyed.

(Video) Eyewitness News Town Hall | Superstorm Sandy: 10 years later

“Rebuilding that attenuates the waves, rebuilds the sand and beach to protect those coastal areas. It also restores marine life and cleans the water and air,” Katie Brennan, executive director of the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, told The Independent.

“There’s already crustaceans and creatures moving back into those tide pools. I's amazing to see how this blue-green infrastructure really works with nature to protect us, and how quick and effective it is.”

Housing: ‘Avoiding tough questions isn’t a solution’

In hard-hit waterfront communities, 3,400 homes have been elevated to withstand future storm surges, and three times that number of properties have received funding for repairs and rebuilding.

In areas prone to extreme flooding, even before Sandy, some residents opted for voluntary government buy-outs. In all more than 700 storm-damaged homes were purchased, the largest number on Staten Island.

More than $3bn in repairs were made by the New York Housing Authority after thousands of people in public housing spent months post-Sandy without heat or power. Backup generators have been installed and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems moved to roofs. Other efforts include constructing flood walls around boilers, and adding storm gates to apartment blocks.

Progress has been painfully slow in places. At Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn, residents waited nearly five years for essential repairs on boilers and roofs, according to the NYC comptroller report.

The larger problem, however, is how New York adapts more of its densely-populated neighborhoods for a future with more extreme storms.

Sandy was a harbinger of the equity issues fused with climate change. Some one million New Yorkers currently face flooding risks, a number projected to more than double by 2100, according to Rebuild By Design. More than half those residents are people of colour and low-income.

“Communities truly understand what they need and unless we’re working with them, we will never be able to create the type of projects and interventions that will be able to solve more than one challenge at a time,” Chester said.

The city issued tighter construction standards after Sandy but it only applied to 3.5 per cent of buildings leaving the overwhelming majority with no obligations to become more flood-proof.

Luxury waterfront developments have continued apace. The value of real estate in the 100-year floodplain - that with a 1 per cent chance of experiencing a major disaster every year - increased by $176bn in the past decade.

If little is done to protect these new buildings, it will “significantly” decline the city’s property tax base “either via abandonment or the implementation of managed retreat programs,” the comptroller said.

The sensitive and complicated issue of “managed retreat” - the voluntary move of people away from vulnerable coastal areas - is only in its nascence, noted Freudenberg.

“How can we ask communities to leave that have already been historically marginalized, and without the housing to move into?” Freudenberg said, alluding to New York City’s public housing shortage of more than half a million homes.

“We need to have a conversation about managed retreat,” he added. “But before that, we need to have a conversation about how there’s not enough affordable housing in the city. You can’t have one without the other.”

The city comptroller noted that any discussions on this issue needs “thoughtful and inclusive processes”.

“Yet, avoiding the tough questions of whether or how to fortify or relocate from a neighborhood is not a solution,” the report warned.

Infrastructure: ‘So much stuff is down there’

Power plants have hardened defences to try to stop the water getting in, and elevated infrastructure in places. Con Edison, whose substation explosion caused the lower Manhattan blackout, has allocated $250m for upgrades.

Renewable energy sources have proliferated and dropped in price in the past decade. At Hunts Point in the Bronx, for example, solar panels and battery storage have been installed at two schools as backups.

(Video) Superstorm Sandy 10 Years Later, a Comprehensive Lookback at the Disaster | NBC New York

Bronzed gates, each weighing nearly 45,000lbs, are now at the mouths of the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels to make them watertight in the event of a major storm.

A $100m “Raise Shorelines” project is elevating low-lying roads which frequently flood with the first phase targeting parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan including the FDR Drive and East River Esplanade, Gowanus Canal and Old Howard Beach.

Two-thirds of city parks and open spaces lie in flood plans, from Battery Park in lower Manhattan to the Far Rockaways. Since Sandy, the parks department has revamped flooding guidelines for planting, coastal design, and drainage systems on esplanades, beaches, playgrounds, and athletic fields.

A major problem for New York is its underground vulnerability, Fugate noted, as “so much stuff is down there”.

At nine major New York hospitals, generators, diagnostics and labs - all frequently located in basements - have been put on higher floors.

Some flood-risky subway stations have been raised while more than a dozen underground stops were retrofitted with Kevlar-based horizontal lids that can be rolled across entrances to stop water flowing down steps. Subway vents were refitted to shut at a certain water level to prevent a waterfall cascading into tunnels.

“There have been improvements that aren’t visible, particularly to the underground infrastructure, including more resilient features on electrical cables to better survive saltwater inundation,” said Cortney Worrall, president of Waterfront Alliance, a nonprofit which protects coastlines of New York City and northern New Jersey.

Fugate also noted that improving one building or facility in isolation may not expose all the risks that exist. “If you harden a hospital but all the roads around it flood, then you really haven’t changed the outcome for a community,” he said.

For how long can we keep going as before?

Post-Sandy, early warning systems were improved after mixed messages about the storm’s severity due to strict rules over what could and couldn’t be classified as a hurricane. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration subsequently broadened the category of storms for which to issue hurricane warnings, Earth Magazine reported in 2013.

Emergency shelters are being increased to 120,000 citywide and made suitable for disabled New Yorkers who face greater risks when trying to evacuate a major storm.

The September 11 terrorist attacks in New York had led the city to improve its major disaster plans, and Sandy saw another overhaul.

“After Hurricane Sandy, there was enhancement of those materials and an effort to take them to community centers and nonprofit groups to make sure that people knew more on what to do,” Worrall told The Independent.

And the work continues. An upgraded emergency plan was announced following Hurricane Ida to help New Yorkers better prepare for and monitor extreme rainfall, including a “Notify NYC” app.

RISE:NYC, a city program supporting tech innovations, has funded goTenna which allows users to create a “mesh network” - using multiple cell phones as a single Wi-Fi site - if citywide service fails.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution,” Brennan said. “We have to be prepared to address a Sandy-like storm as well as other extreme weather events including rainstorms, like Hurricane Ida, riverine flooding, extreme heat. We know that it’s a matter of when - and not if - so resiliency is forever a work in progress.”


Yet at the heart of Sandy’s legacy is a lingering, existential question, one that the climate crisis is forcing more and more communities to contemplate: For how long can we keep going as before?

For some New Yorkers, Sandy meant the end of living along the coast. For others, it presented an opportunity to move closer to the ocean.

“Sandy was a tremendous, cautionary tale for us about damage from the coast,” Freudenberg said, “But humans want to get as much out of something in the time that we have.”

He noted that New York City had not yet seen a storm that packed the extreme rainfall of Ida and Sandy’s coastal flooding.

(Video) Remembering Hurricane Sandy 10 years later

“That’s the one that scares me the most,” he said. “It demonstrates how hard it is to stay ahead of climate impacts because we don’t even necessarily know how they’re going to come. We can only react and do our best to plan.

“I think the message when looking back at Sandy is to make sure we look ahead at what else is coming.”


What category was Hurricane Sandy when it hit NYC? ›

Category 1 hurricane

What year Sandy hit New York? ›

Hurricane Sandy hit New York City on October 29, 2012.

What area was hit the hardest by Hurricane Sandy? ›

29, 2012, it had been downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm. But, the terminology was technical. The reality was Sandy slammed the East Coast with wind, rain and record-setting storm surge that inundated towns from Florida to Maine with New Jersey and New York being the hardest hit.

Did Sandy Hit NY as a hurricane? ›

No matter what Sandy was called, though, the storm never lost its large wind field or its large radius of maximum wind (which is why weather experts still considered it a “hurricane strike” when it hit the New York region).

Can a Category 5 hurricane hit NYC? ›

Keep in mind that a category three hurricane in itself could cause catastrophic damage with winds of 111-129 mph and a major storm tide. So, New York City is most likely safe from ever seeing a category five hurricane, but extensive damage can still be inflicted by a much weaker one.

Is New York gonna get hit by a hurricane? ›

No severe weather is expected in NYC at this time. Get forecast updates from the National Weather Service.

What was the worst hurricane to hit New York? ›

New York is in the northeastern U.S. on the East Coast. The strongest storm of all to hit the state was the 1938 New England hurricane. That storm also killed over 600 people.

Which hurricane was the worst in US history? ›

More people were killed in this single storm than the total of those killed in at least the next two deadliest tropical cyclones that have struck the United States since. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 remains the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

Whats the worst hurricane in history? ›

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 was, and still is, the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States. The hurricane hit Galveston, Texas, on September 8, 1900, as a Category 4 hurricane.

Which hurricane has hit the United States causing immense devastation? ›

Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on 29 August as a Category 4 storm on the 16th anniversary of Katrina, the strongest hurricane to ever hit the state.

Was Hurricane Katrina a Category 5? ›

After moving west across south Florida and into the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina intensified rapidly and attained Category 5 status (with peak sustained winds of 175mph) for a period of time as it moved northwest on August 28th.

How many people died during Sandy? ›

How many hurricanes does New York have? ›

Eighty-five tropical or subtropical cyclones have affected the state of New York since the 17th century.

Has a hurricane ever hit New Jersey? ›

There have been 115 hurricanes or tropical storms that affected the U.S. state of New Jersey. Due to its location, few hurricanes have hit the state directly, though numerous hurricanes have passed near or through New Jersey in its history.

Has a hurricane ever hit California? ›

A hurricane did make landfall in California in the 1800s. In 1858, the San Diego Hurricane brought hurricane conditions to San Diego and Long Beach.

What would happen if a major hurricane hit New York City? ›

A major hurricane could push more than 30 feet of storm surge (the height of a three-story building) into some parts of New York City, and storm surge can travel several miles inland. Storm surge and large battering waves can endanger lives, destroy buildings, erode beaches and dunes, and damage roads and bridges.

How often do hurricanes occur in New York? ›

According to the National Hurricane Center, on average, hurricanes winds have impacted the New York City area every 19 years, and major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) every 74 years. A Category 5 hurricane is not expected to occur here under current climate conditions.

Does New York get earthquakes? ›

New York is a state with a long and storied history of earthquake activity that has touched all parts of the state. Since the first earthquake that probably took place on December 19, 1737, New York has had over 550 earthquakes centered within its state boundaries through 2016.

How will Hurricane Ian effect New York? ›

As Hurricane Ian makes its way north after severely battering Florida and the Southeast, New Yorkers can expect frequent rain, low temperatures and high winds, as well as some flood risk throughout the five boroughs and Metro area.

How long do hurricanes last? ›

A hurricane can last for 2 weeks or more over open water and can run a path across the entire length of the Eastern Seaboard. The 74 to 160 mile per hour winds of a hurricane can extend inland for hundreds of miles.

How much snow is NYC getting? ›

0" over next 8 days.

Has Manhattan ever had a hurricane? ›


One of the only hurricanes believed to have passed directly over parts of modern New York City made landfall on Sept. 3, 1821. In one hour the tide rose 13 feet and inundated wharves, causing the East River to meet the Hudson River across lower Manhattan as far north as Canal Street.

What was the worst hurricane in the 1930s? ›

On September 21, 1938, one of the most destructive and powerful hurricanes in recorded history struck Long Island and Southern New England. The storm developed near the Cape Verde Islands on September 9, tracking across the Atlantic and up the Eastern Seaboard.

What is the strongest hurricane to ever hit the US? ›

The strongest storm to ever strike the United States was the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, which came ashore in Florida with sustained wind speeds of 185 miles per hour — making it a high-end Category 5 storm.

What are the 3 worst hurricanes in US history? ›

Here's a look back at some of the worst hurricanes to hit the U.S. in history.
  • The Cheniere Caminada Hurricane 1893. ...
  • Galveston Hurricane 1900. ...
  • San Felipe-Okeechobee Hurricane 1928. ...
  • The Great Labor Day Hurricane 1935. ...
  • Hurricane Camille 1969. ...
  • Hurricane Andrew 1992. ...
  • Hurricane Katrina 2005. ...
  • Hurricane Sandy 2012.
28 Sept 2022

Is a category 6 hurricane possible? ›

There is officially no such thing as a Category 6 hurricane. But the idea of revising or adding to the scale has been discussed by some climate scientists who believe the current categories may not be adequate for increasingly extreme storms in the future.

What's the strongest storm ever recorded? ›

The JTWC's unofficial estimate of one-minute sustained winds of 305 km/h (190 mph) would, by that measure, make Haiyan the most powerful storm ever recorded to strike land.

Are hurricanes getting stronger? ›

On average, there have been more storms, stronger hurricanes and increase in hurricanes that rapidly intensify,” NASA reports. In 2020, the world saw a record-breaking hurricane season. According to NASA, the 2020 season had 30 named storms, an untypical amount of storms that caused billions of dollars in damage.

Can you fly over hurricanes? ›

DALLAS – The short answer is yes; it is feasible for a commercial aircraft to fly over a hurricane while remaining out of the storm's path.

Will there be any hurricanes in 2022? ›

Another above-average hurricane season is in the forecast for 2022. In 2021, there were 21 named storms, making it the third most active on record in terms of named systems. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) provides a list of the 2022 storm names.

What storm is worse than a hurricane? ›

Typhoons are generally stronger than hurricanes. This is because of warmer water in the western Pacific which creates better conditions for development of a storm.

What state has had the most hurricanes? ›

Where Do Hurricanes Hit the Most in the United States? It probably comes as no surprise that Florida has been hit by more hurricanes than any other state since the inception of the Saffir/Simpson scale in 1851.

What is a Category 7 hurricane? ›

A Category 7 is a hypothetical rating beyond the maximum rating of Category 5. A storm of this magnitude would most likely have winds between 215 and 245 mph, with a minimum pressure between 820-845 millibars.

How many cat 5 have hit the US? ›

Only four hurricanes have ever hit the mainland U.S. with winds stronger than Ian's and all were deadly category 5 storms — the most powerful on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

How far inland can storm surge go? ›

Storm surges have been known to go 25 miles inland, submerging cars and flooding houses in its path. There is nothing we can do to prevent hurricanes from forming year after year, but there is a lot we can do to reduce or even prevent the damage they cause.

Which was worse hurricane Katrina or Sandy? ›

Here are some Katrina, a Category 3 hurricane when it hit the Gulf Coast, vs. Sandy comparisons, according to the UNC graphic: - U.S. deaths: 1,833 linked from Katrina, 132 on the U.S. mainland from Sandy (more than 200 in seven countries).

Which hurricane caused the most deaths? ›

The Galveston hurricane of 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, crashed ashore much like Hurricane Ian did last week. As a large Category 4 with 150 mph winds, it shoved Gulf of Mexico waters deep into the booming port city.

Which of the following received the most damage from Hurricane Sandy? ›

New York was most severely impacted due to damage to subways and roadway tunnels. In New York and New Jersey, storm surges were 14 ft above the average low tide. At the height of the storm, over 7.5 million people were without power.

› ... › Natural Disasters ›

Aerial view of damage from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the worst hurricane in U.S. history. But not of all time. ©Smiley N. Pool/Dallas Morning News/Corbi...

Hurricane Katrina › wiki › Hurricane_Katrina › wiki › Hurricane_Katrina
Hurricane Katrina was a destructive Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially i...

Hurricanes in History › outreach › history › outreach › history
This killer weather system was first detected over the tropical Atlantic on August 27. While the history of the track and intensity is not fully known, the syst...

What was the worst hurricane to hit New York? ›

New York is in the northeastern U.S. on the East Coast. The strongest storm of all to hit the state was the 1938 New England hurricane. That storm also killed over 600 people.

When was the last Category 5 hurricane? ›

Those four are the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Camille in 1969, Andrew in 1992 and Michael in 2018. Hurricanes are measured by their sustained surface wind speeds on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This scale does not account for other hurricane hazards such as storm surge and rain.

Has there ever been Category 6 hurricane? ›

In the midst of an unusually ferocious string of hurricanes in 2017, there was some speculation about whether storms could hit a Category 6. There is officially no such thing as a Category 6 hurricane.

What is a Category 3 hurricane? ›

Category Three Hurricane. Winds 111-129 mph (96-112 kt or 178-208 km/hr). Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads.

Has Manhattan ever had a hurricane? ›


One of the only hurricanes believed to have passed directly over parts of modern New York City made landfall on Sept. 3, 1821. In one hour the tide rose 13 feet and inundated wharves, causing the East River to meet the Hudson River across lower Manhattan as far north as Canal Street.

Which hurricane was the worst in U.S. history? ›

More people were killed in this single storm than the total of those killed in at least the next two deadliest tropical cyclones that have struck the United States since. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 remains the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

Whats the worst hurricane in history? ›

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 was, and still is, the deadliest hurricane to hit the United States. The hurricane hit Galveston, Texas, on September 8, 1900, as a Category 4 hurricane.

What is a Category 7 hurricane? ›

A Category 7 is a hypothetical rating beyond the maximum rating of Category 5. A storm of this magnitude would most likely have winds between 215 and 245 mph, with a minimum pressure between 820-845 millibars.

What is the strongest hurricane to hit the US? ›

The strongest storm to ever strike the United States was the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, which came ashore in Florida with sustained wind speeds of 185 miles per hour — making it a high-end Category 5 storm.

Was Katrina a Category 5 hurricane? ›

Early on the 28th, Katrina reached a minimum central pressure of 902mb (at the peak) - ranking 7th lowest on record for all Atlantic Basin hurricanes - and rapidly intensified to a Category 5 (175mph).

Has there ever been a Category 8 hurricane? ›

A Category 8 is a hypothetical Saffir-Simpson rating beyond the Category 5 rating which has never officially been recorded in human history.

How fast is a Hypercane? ›

Hypercanes would have wind speeds of over 800 kilometres per hour (500 mph), potentially gusting to 970 km/h (600 mph), and would also have a central pressure of less than 700 hectopascals (20.67 inHg), giving them an enormous lifespan of at least several weeks.

Has there ever been Hypercane? ›

Hypercane Phillip was the first hypercane recorded in the Atlantic basin. Packing winds of 505 mph at peak, Phillip was the first storm to gain this classification.

What are the worst hurricanes in the last 20 years? ›

The 20 Costliest U.S. Hurricanes
  • Katrina. 2005. $153.8 billion.
  • Sandy. 2012. $67.7 billion.
  • Andrew. 1992. $46.2 billion.
  • Ike. 2008. $33.3 billion.
  • Ivan. 2004. $26 billion.
  • Wilma. 2005. $23.4 billion.
  • Rita. 2005. $22.8 billion.
  • Charley. 2004. $21 billion.

How bad is a Category 5? ›

Category 4: Winds 130 to 156 mph leading to catastrophic damage to homes with winds strong enough to tear off roofs and walls. Most trees and power poles will be downed. Can make areas uninhabitable for weeks or months. Category 5: Catastrophic winds 157 mph or higher that will level many homes.

What is the strongest hurricane category? ›

Category 5 hurricane: Catastrophic damage will occur

In a Category 5 hurricane, the highest category hurricane, winds are 157 mph or higher.


1. 10 years after Hurricane Sandy, officials aim to protect cities from climate change | ABCNL
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2. Eyewitness News special: Sandy 10 years later
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