Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Terrible Beauty

NASA’s Aqua satellite image of Hurricane Sandy
NASA’s Aqua satellite image of Hurricane Sandy
taken at 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
(18:20 Universal Time) on October 29, 2012.
Such an innocuous sounding name - Sandy - such devastation for so many. It's almost over in weather terms, but the effects will linger for months. When I first heard the initial forecasts last week, like many others I had a hard time imagining what the scientists could mean when they said this would be unlike any other storm in recent history. Having experienced the full force of Snowmageddon, I wondered just how much worse any storm could be!  A perfect "Perfect Storm" that could only be produced by the confluence of certain conflicting events - a cold, Canadian front from the northwest colliding with a tropical hurricane from the southeast, further egged on by a full moon on October 29th, all of which wreaked havoc across the Mid-Atlantic coast. The news coverage of this storm, though initially sounding greatly hyped and overblown, turned out to be quite accurate and timely. With the help of NOAA scientists who correctly predicted its magnitude, the media encouraged residents to prepare for the storm and most people did that. Below are some interesting newslinks which illustrate the unique and dangerous qualities of Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane in diameter on record, whose winds spanned about 1,100 miles from end to end (National Hurricane Center).

1.  NYT interactive graphic of wind speeds along Hurricane Sandy’s path.
2.  NYT graphic of the spread of power failures across the Northeast.
4.  Hurricane Sandy social media rumors and other false rumors.
5.  Archived data on Hurricane Sandy from the National Hurricane Center.
6.  NASA graphic depicting Sandy's immense size.
7.  WP's Joel Achenbach puts the storm in perspective.
8.  Unbelievable before and after photos of Sandy's damage.
9.  Real and Fake photos generated by Sandy.
10. The Waffle House Index, a measure of the severity of disasters.
11. Amazing before and after satellite photos of New Jersey's shoreline.
12. Remarkable time-lapse footage of NYC lashed by Sandy; about half-way through, power goes out to Lower Manhattan.
13. AP's state by state account of the effects of Sandy from NC to VT.
14. And of course, Wikipedia's comprehensive article on Hurricane Sandy.

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