Hurricane Sandy


Hurricane Sandy made a variety of impacts along the highly populated northeastern Atlantic seaboard in October 2012. Improved understanding of these impacts will better prepare us for the next one. Supplemental funding from Congress is helping advance our ability to provide near real-time forecasts of impacts and ecological consequences. 

Science to Support Coastal Resilence

Science to Support Coastal Resilence

The USGS Science Plan was developed immediately following Hurricane Sandy to coordinate continuing USGS activities with other agencies.

Research Themes

USGS scientists are working to assess forecast effectiveness, improve how we share information, and identify gaps to improve the information and tools we provide.

Coastal Elevation Data and Mapping

Understanding Coastal Change

Coastal Hydrology and Storm Surge

Environmental Quality and Contaminants

Coastal Ecosystem Impacts


Date published: July 17, 2018

USGS scientists successfully acquire repeat geophysical data at Fire Island National Seashore

The objective of the field effort was to remeasure seafloor elevations and sub-seafloor geology in areas that were surveyed in 2014 in order to quantify change in shoreface sediment availability and flux, some of the first data of its kind.

Date published: May 3, 2018

Focus on Estuaries and Coastal Wetlands

Estuaries and wetlands provide a critical defense against storms and sea-level rise while providing economically valuable services. How well they protect coastal communities and host diverse ecosystems is largely a function of their shape (morphology), which is controlled by factors such as sediment movement and biological feedbacks.

Date published: December 12, 2017

USGS Research Geologist Publishes New AGU Article Forecasting Barrier Island Response to Sea-Level Rise

A new article combines geomorphological and pre- and post-Hurricane Sandy observations from coastal New Jersey with a morphodynamic model to forecast the response of barrier islands to various rates of sea-level rise and explores the impact of human alterations on forecasted behavior.


Year Published: 2017

Observations and a linear model of water level in an interconnected inlet-bay system

A system of barrier islands and back-barrier bays occurs along southern Long Island, New York, and in many coastal areas worldwide. Characterizing the bay physical response to water level fluctuations is needed to understand flooding during extreme events and evaluate their relation to geomorphological changes. Offshore sea level is one of the...

Aretxabaleta, Alfredo; Ganju, Neil K.; Butman, Bradford; Signell, Richard P.
Aretxabaleta, A. L., N. K. Ganju, B. Butman, and R. P. Signell (2017), Observations and a linear model of water level in an interconnected inlet-bay system, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 122, doi:10.1002/2016JC012318.

Year Published: 2017

Inner-shelf ocean dynamics and seafloor morphologic changes during Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was one of the most destructive hurricanes in US history, making landfall on the New Jersey coast on Oct 30, 2012. Storm impacts included several barrier island breaches, massive coastal erosion, and flooding. While changes to the subaerial landscape are relatively easily observed, storm-induced changes to the adjacent shoreface...

Warner, John C.; Schwab, William C.; List, Jeffrey H.; Safak, Ilgar; Liste, Maria; Baldwin, Wayne E.
Warner, J.C., Schwab, W.C., List, J.H., Safak, I., Liste, M., and Baldwin, W, 2017, Inner-shelf ocean dynamics and seafloor morphologic changes during Hurricane Sandy: Continental Shelf Research, v. 138, 1-18 p doi:10.1016/j.csr.2017.02.003.

Year Published: 2017

Hurricane Sandy washover deposits on Fire Island, New York

Washover deposits on Fire Island, New York, from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 were investigated a year after the storm to document the sedimentary characteristics of hurricane washover features. Sediment data collected in the field includes stratigraphic descriptions and photos from trenches, bulk sediment samples, U-channels, and gouge and push cores...

La Selle, SeanPaul M.; Lunghino, Brent D.; Jaffe, Bruce E.; Gelfenbaum, Guy; Costa, Pedro J.M.
La Selle, S.M., Lunghino, B.D., Jaffe, B.E., Gelfenbaum, G., and Costa, P.J.M., 2017, Hurricane Sandy washover deposits on Fire Island, New York: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1014, 30 p.,