Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meteorologist compares, contrasts Hurricane Sandy to Katrina

WDSU meteorologist Margaret Orr acknowledged that Hurricane Sandy was a horrific storm and its death toll of 50 lives is tragic, but she also took time on Tuesday night's broadcast to compare Hurricane Sandy to Hurricane Katrina. The picture above shows her basic points, one of which is that Katrina had a storm surge 28 feet, but Sandy had a surge of 13.88 feet. Yes, 13.88 feet is unprecedented for the Jersey Shore, but still that's less than half of Katrina's surge.Sandy was also post-tropical when it hit land, said Orr.

Orr did not discuss the devastation to the New Orleans, its surrounding parishes, and the Mississippi coast, but my son noted that the flood waters took longer to subside in New Orleans (partially due to pump failure). The lingering water in the heat complicated recovery. For instance, toxic mold became a bigger problem than it may be in the Northeast.

Nonetheless, Sandy was a monster, and it has devastated the Jersey shore, destroyed towns, caused fires, and stalled the New York subway system, flooding its tunnels. For some reason, it never occurred to me what would happen if the NYC subway tunnels flooded, and this kind of damage is only part of Sandy's destruction. Still despite Sandy being a massive storm with wind gusts ripping up trees as far south as Atlanta, due to Louisiana's geography as well as Hurricane Katrina's higher strength and winds, Katrina was a greater monster.

In sympathy, many people in New Orleans, such as local business owners and this blogger, have already sent aid to Sandy's victims. I hope New York City and New Jersey bounce back as quickly as the city and that state can. It sounds like they have the kind of leadership that will do what it takes to recover and build a smarter infrastructure, too. Also, I used to live in New Jersey, and from what I can see, the residents where much of the flooding occurred are better equipped financially than many Louisiana residents are. Access to money makes a difference in the time it takes to rebuild. I write this aware that across the street from me sit two vacant houses flooded during Katrina and one next door that have not yet been repaired.


Bryan said...

Her surge numbers are incorrect. The supposed 28 foot surge in Katrina is misleading. the surge was only 28 feet in the Area that was below sea level, in the rest of the surge area it was only 12 feet. Also, the worst of the damage was in that small area, Sandy's surge are covered shoreline from Virginia to Massachusetts. Sandy was 3 times the size of Katrina, though with less damaging winds, however being a much slower moving storm allowed those 80mph winds to sustain their damaging effect 3 times longer than Katrina's 125mph winds.


Absolutely incorrect. In Mississippi the surge was 28 feet above sea level.