Hurricane Sandy - New York

Science Center Objects

https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/55dee95ce4b0518e354e0834Gale- to storm-force winds associated with the passage of Sandy across central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania that lasted 12 to 18 hours caused major to record coastal flooding in southeastern New York on October 29, 2012. Of 10 real-time tide gages operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in coastal areas of Long Island and New York City, all recorded levels above the National Weather Service (NWS) major coastal flood elevation. The locations of tide stations operated by the USGS in the southeastern New York region are shown on the Southeastern New York Coastal Montitoring Sites web page.  

The south shore of New York City and western Long Island saw the bulk of the record water elevations, as these areas were to the immediate right of the storm's center of circulation as it made landfall in New Jersey. Widespread record coastal flooding occurred in Lower New York Bay, Jamaica Bay, and the western bays along southern Nassau County. The peak water levels recorded at all stations in these areas also exceeded the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100-year base flood elevations for these sites. In all cases, the peaks from Sandy have surpassed anything documented previously at these sites, including the Oct. 31, 1991 and Dec. 11, 1992 storms and Hurricane Irene.

Record coastal flooding also occurred in western Great South Bay along southern Suffolk County and in the Peconic Estuary of eastern Suffolk County. The peak water levels recorded at most stations in these areas also exceeded the FEMA 100-year stillwater elevations for these sites. In all cases, the peaks from Sandy have surpassed anything documented previously at these sites, including the Oct. 31, 1991 and Dec. 11, 1992 storms.

The Long Island Sound shore of northern Nassau County experienced major coastal flooding. The peak water level recorded at the one real-time station in this area exceeded the FEMA 10-year stillwater elevation for this site. The peak from Sandy was within 0.5 ft of the record previously documented for this site-from the Dec. 11, 1992 storm.

Notice: 14NOV12 - The USGS is monitoring barrier island breaches in cooperation with the National Park Service.The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) New York Water Science Center (NYWSC) proposes to help evaluate the open breach condition in Federal Wilderness near the Old Inlet area of Fire Island National Seashore, N.Y. The proposed NYWSC evaluation would initially be focused on two activities: measurement of water velocities and depths within the Wilderness breach, and collection of water levels within Great South Bay (GSB) adjacent to the breach.

Measurement of water velocities and depths within the Wilderness breach would be done with a Sontek M9 acoustic Doppler current profiler tethered to an Oceanscience remotely operated Q-boat 1800P. Water velocities would be collected at a rate of 3.0 and/or 1.0 MHz depending on flow conditions with an accuracy of 0.25% of measured velocity and resolution of 0.001 m/s; water depths would be collected at the same frequency as velocity with a vertical accuracy of 1% and resolution of 0.001 m. Approximately 3 to 5 sections perpendicular to the channel axis would be collected within the breach and geo-referenced using RTK GPS. Another section would be collected perpendicular to the flood tidal channel(s) bayward of the former GSB shoreline. An additional section would be collected roughly parallel and seaward of the former ocean shoreline, as conditions permit. For each deployment, these sections would be measured once during the last 2-3 hours of the incoming ocean tide and a second time during the last 2-3 hours of the outgoing ocean tide. Velocity and depth measurements would be imported into a geographic information system (GIS) and exported as one or more geo-referenced shapefiles. Instantaneous discharge also would be computed from one of the breach sections for incoming and outgoing tide conditions.

Collection of water levels within GSB adjacent to the breach would be done with a modified USGS storm surge sensor (SSS). This sensor, which normally collects 7 days of 30-second-interval data, would be reprogrammed to collect about 2 months of routine (6-minute-interval) tide-gage observations. The modified SSS would be affixed to a remnant piling of the Old Inlet dock. At the end of the 2-month period, the SSS would be recovered and its record processed and displayed on the USGS Hurricane Sandy Storm Tide Mapper.

Coastal Storm Surge

Notice: 17DEC12 - A provisional table of peak storm-tide elevations produced by Hurricane Sandy and historical peak water-level elevations, dates of occurrence, and periods of record at 13 U.S. Geological Survey estuary stations in southeastern New York has been made available.

Notice: 14NOV12 - The USGS has recovered most of the 38 storm-surge sensors, 4 wave-high sensors, 10 barometric-pressure sensors, and 4 rapid-deployment gages that were deployed prior to Hurricane Sandy's arrival. This work will be carried out by teams from the New York, Georgia, and North Carolina Water Science Centers. In addition, these teams marked and are surveying over 300 high-water marks in the region to document this record flooding event. Information about high-water marks and data retieved from these instruments are posted for display on the storm tracker found on the Hurricane Sandy Storm Tide mapper.

Tidal water-elevation stations, rapid deployment streamgages and some streamgages recorded water level data and transmitted those data on a real time basis. A list of those gages can be found on the USGS Storm tide and Rapid deployment streamgages page.

Provisional peak data from 10 existing USGS coastal gages in southeastern New York are shown below. All USGS these tidal water-elevation stations recorded levels above the National Weather Service major coastal flood elevation.

  • West Pond at Glen Cove, NY (01302600): 10.96 ft (above FEMA 10-year stillwater elevation)
  • Orient Harbor at Orient, NY (01304200): 7.38 ft (approached FEMA 50-year stillwater elevation)
  • Peconic River at County Hwy 105 at Riverhead, NY (01304562): 8.60 ft (above FEMA 100-year stillwater elevation)
  • Great South Bay at Lindenhurst, NY (01309225): 7.73 (approached FEMA 100-year base flood elevation)
  • Hudson Bay at Freeport, NY (01310521): 10.12 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation)
  • Reynolds Channel at Point Lookout, NY (01310740): 10.10 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation
  • Hog Island Channel at Island Park, NY (01311143): 10.89 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation
  • East Rockaway Inlet at Atlantic Beach, NY (01311145): 10.80 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation)
  • Jamaica Bay at Inwood, NY (01311850): 11.65 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation)
  • Rockaway Inlet near Floyd Bennett Field, NY (01311875): 11.75 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation

Hudson River - Hurricane Sandy storm-surge high-water-marks are plotted here relative to historic water elevations.

Many good references and resources can be found on our Floodwatch page. Other storm related links are;
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration StormCentral
National Weather Service National Hurricane Center
National Weather Service Northeast River Forecast Center
National Weather Service Watches, Warnings or Advisories for New York
USGS Current Conditions for New York: Streamflow
USGS Hurricane Sandy Information
Google Super Storm Sandy

Other Links

From Montauk to Manhattan – Measuring Storm Tide and High-Water Marks caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy -- Science to support coastal resilience