A $20 Billion, 1000-Year Frankenstorm? Sandy Slams East Coast, Smashes All-Time Records.

UPDATE (9:22 EDT): CNN’s meteorologist just said: “There’s no one that’s not 300 years old that has seen anything like this.”

“Atlantic City is under water. The boardwalk is in the street.” via @MikeStacks609

Disaster modeling company Eqecat projected today that “Hurricane Sandy is likely to cause insured losses of $5 billion to $10 billion and economic losses of $10 billion to $20 billion.” If it hits $20 billion, it would be among the top 5 costliest U.S. hurricanes — and the costliest one to hit the Northeast.

The final storm track has made the too-aptly named Atlantic City ground zero for Sandy. CNN Weather Center tweets:

NEW #RECORD daily rainfall set at Atlantic City, NJ! 4.55″ of rain seen so far, shattering the old record of 2.33″ set back in 1908!! #SANDY

The New York Times reports:

“The city is under siege,” said Thomas Foley, [AC’s] chief of emergency services. “Sandy is pretty furious at Atlantic City. She must have lost a bet or something. As we say in our slogan, ‘Do A.C.’ She’s doing A.C., all right.”

Or something! (see “Trenberth: Hurricane Sandy Mixes Super-Storm Conditions With Climate Change” and links below).

Weather Underground reported in its twitter feed today:

Atlantic City recorded a pressure of 959 mb at 4 pm, setting the city’s record for lowest pressure on record.

Twitter is definitely the place for finding the latest updates. The all-time record was 960.7 mb — and The Weather Channel’s Hurricane Central feed reported a few hours later:

Atlantic City down to 953.9 mb (28.17″) pressure and still plummeting.

TWC also tweets:

Barometric pressure in #Philly now 28.39″; this breaks their all-time low pressure record of 28.43″ set in March ’93 superstorm

In fact, the record was set today for the lowest pressure ever recorded for a hurricane north of the Carolinas!

New York City is also slammed. TWC tweets:

The water level at the Battery in #NYC has reached 11.25 feet, surpassing the all-time record of 11.2 feet set in 1821.

Eric Holthaus tweeted for his Wall Street Journal weather feed:

NYSE closure tomorrow will mark first time the market closes FOR WEATHER on consecutive days since 1888.

The WSJ blog has reported, “NYC Subways Could Be Crippled for Days“:

Floodwaters rushed through Lower Manhattan on Monday night, inundating subway and automotive tunnels and likely forcing a prolonged shutdown of New York City’s mass-transit system. No clear estimate was available, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority did not provide a timetable for reopening the subways. But the extent of flooding and the height of the storm surge appeared likely to meet or exceed the level of a 1992 nor’easter….

Jon Passantino tweets:

Wow: Floodwaters inundate Ground Zero construction site in NYC (via AP)

Meanwhile, the Washington Post Weather Gang posted:

How historic would the amount of rain forecast be? Weather Decisions Technology (WDT) has prepared an analysis shown below. Its model projects Sandy to be a 500-to-1,000 year precipation event for some parts of the Mid-Atlantic with a 100-250 year precipitation event for broader areas….

Color shades indicate historic rainfall potential, e.g. 1-year rainfall event, 10-year rainfall event, etc. (WDT Weather Opps)

Coincidentally, as Climate Progress reported last week, Munich Re, a top reinsurer, released a major new study that for the first time, links the rapid rise in North American extreme weather catastrophes to manmade climate change:

Climate­-driven changes are already evident over the last few decades for severe thunderstorms, for heavy precipitation and flash flood­ing, for hurricane activity, and for heatwave, drought and wild­-fire dynamics in parts of North America.”

At the same time non-climatic events (earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis) have hardly changed, as the figure shows. The 274-page study, “Severe weather in North America” draws on “the most comprehensive natural catastrophe database worldwide.”

Prof. Peter Höppe, who heads Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research unit, said:

“In all likelihood, we have to regard this finding as an initial climate-change footprint in our US loss data from the last four decades. Previously, there had not been such a strong chain of evidence. If the first effects of climate change are already perceptible, all alerts and measures against it have become even more pressing.

The time to act was over a decade ago, but now is better than later!

UPDATE: CNN says a report that the NYSE was under 3 feet of water is not true.

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21 Responses to A $20 Billion, 1000-Year Frankenstorm? Sandy Slams East Coast, Smashes All-Time Records.

  1. “Oh when will we ever learn?”

    However, facebook post from my daughter in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Trees down in Park Slope… but the mail was delivered. Good for the USPS.

  2. cam says:

    so- what’s your candidate’s plan?
    and why won’t the media tell us about hers?
    watch the 2 candidates the media won’t talk about debate tomorrow!

  3. idunno says:

    I have read an estimate of US$55Billion of damage from flooding of tunnels in NYC alone. This from an official report, published last year.

    In other news, WUWT TV is coming soon:

    Do try, Joe, to get a perspective. How could you possibly ignore such an important development on such a slow news day?

  4. Paul Klinkman says:

    Con Ed shut down power to parts of Lower Manhattan. This says that there’s a probability of danger to New York City’s electric system from salt water flooding.

    If salt water flooding occurs, the affected parts of NYC (and underground wires go a long way in Manhattan) will be dark for months?

    Oh well, maybe it won’t happen. Heckuva job, Brownie.

  5. Paul Klinkman says:

    OK, Now I’ve peeked at what’s coming out on the internet. It’s a go.

    Joe, this is the story of the decade. Wall Street shall stay dark. Maybe they can set up generators in the street outside of the New York Stock Exchange to feed the day traders, but henceforth there’s a huge problem getting Manhattan to work.

  6. paul magnus says:

    Eaarth, Welcome to the rest of our future….

  7. Ozonator says:

    With condolences to southeast Asia and the US East Coast –

    Still nothing from the GOP’s sex tourists on behalf of Vain Romulan & Mo Ruin to help with their AGW destruction in southeast Asia – they didn’t even leave the mint on the pillow and took the soaps.

    From Tropical Storm Son-Tinh, “Powerful storm kills at least 30 in Philippines, Vietnam” (By Jethro Mullen, CNN;, 10/29/12).

    Good enough for a grade school or dittoheads, “Romney campaign bus to deliver supplies to storm-relief centers” (By Justin Sink;, 10/29/12).

    “III). Hurricane (Tropical Cyclone) Ecosystem Predictions for the World in 2012. … B). Total predicted monster hurricane ecosystem hits and projected routes for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans for 2012. As always, expect a month+ overlap into the following year (January/February 2013). 1). The main routes (100%) of catastrophic devastation in the North Atlantic will be – from to: …b). Caribbean Sea – Jamaica – western Cuba – Morgan City – Oklahoma/Baton Rouge – Raleigh, North Carolina (39%) … 6). The main routes (100%) of catastrophic devastation in the Western Pacific will be – from to: … a). Marianas – Philippines – Hainan – Vietnam (17%), … f). Chuuk – Palau – Philippines (10%),” (“14th, Annual 2012 North Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season Predictions with Related Planetary Models”; Robert James Rhodes, Supplemental; GBRWE 2/12 – 18/12, 2/13/12).

    Another denier example of Obama failure, “Army Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski … Pre-positioned equipment and a system of trained rotational forces provides more capability in the region and ensures better preparedness for contingencies that may arise … “I can absolutely tell you that there will be a natural disaster in the Asia-Pacific rim soon,” he said, whether it’s an earthquake, tsunami, typhoon or other disaster. As a result of that likelihood, most of the exercises U.S. Army Pacific participates in include a humanitarian assistance and disaster response element” (“U.S. Army Commander in the Asia-Pacific Eyes Troop Rotations“; Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service; Author/Source: Department of Defense, United States;, 10/24/12).

  8. MorinMoss says:

    I wonder how they derive those disaster dollar estimates and isn’t it a bit early to be guesstimating those?

  9. bill says:

    Still think saving people from rising seas is a joke, Mitt?

  10. fj says:

    From Bloomberg’s office the surge was 13.88 feet at the Battery.

    East River tunnels are flooded which according past reports by Columbia Earth Institute physicist Klaus Jacob is a major catastrophe estimated optmistically by the MTA, that it will take about a month to pump the water out of the tunnels & repair all the electrical equipment — switches Inundated by the salt water — greatly impacting NYC’s $4 billion per day economic activity.

    Seems that costs of storm should be much higher than $20 billion.

  11. fj says:

    If this is not the Climate Pearl Harbor . . . ?

    Should be a real tipping point for cycling & more advanced net zero mobility solutions in this town.

  12. Leif says:

    Well it is job security that can not be out-sourced. Too bad it is on the tax payers dime and not the backs of the carbon producers as it rightfully should be.

    Stop profits from the pollution of the commons and perhaps humanity can start to wrestle this calamity under control. Baring that, it looks like Toastville for the kidders.

    Socially enabled capitalism that privatizes profits and socializes loses is a failed paradigm.

    As a person on the downside of the above equation, I rebel.

  13. Paul Magnus says:

    Guess what… hurricane season is not over yet.

  14. Lollipop says:

    Good news is that every blog/news site/weather nerd site this morning is talking climate change. Even when the stories themselves aren’t talking about it, actual people are. I think this is a good sign. NYTimes, Weather Underground, CBS News, all with fierce arguments about climate change going on right now. It’s going on every where that I have checked.

  15. Paul Magnus says:

    I just had a thought which I am going to throw out here… Can super storms like this generate low frequency seismic waves or pressure pulses which trigger earthquakes locally or remotely (for example on the west coast)?

    This could be one mechanism which is involved when we get sudden climate change like GW as it has been noted in the geological record that earthquakes, volcanoes and seismic activity does increase with the changing climate.

  16. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    Humans are helpless against the fury of nature.
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  17. Leland Palmer says:

    Sandy turned left instead of right partially due to high pressure over Greenland. The NYT says that high pressure over Greenland is rare.

    Not so, sad to say, during 2012:

    NOAA Climatewatch

    The unusual melting event followed several months during which high pressure systems repeatedly parked over Greenland. As many a weather forecaster has explained, high pressure generally leads to calm winds and sunny skies, both of which boost temperatures during the all-day sunshine of mid-summer at high latitudes.

    … A large dome of high pressure camped over Greenland and the Northwest Atlantic this summer. The influence on temperatures (map on right) was dramatic. Temperature anomalies at the same altitude were as much as 11 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average over Greenland.

    So, is hurricane Sandy a rare event, or will hurricanes turning left and coming onshore in New England become the new normal?

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Normal ‘isn’t going to last very long in the future. Normal may change from decade to decade or even year to year. What we get with climate destabilisation is ever-increasing chaos, climatically, economically, socially and politically. After a while the chaos will rip all the stable systems to shreds, and a new steady-state will be millennia away.

  19. Leland Palmer says:

    Yes, unless we change our technology, and put carbon back underground. It is possible to do this, still, I think, using BECCS (Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage)and clean energy technologies.

    But the system has been destabilized, and it is possible that nothing will work, no matter how hard we try at this point, of course.