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Recovery after Hurricane Sandy

01 November, 2012 10:41  Erin Erin

Hurricane SandyHurricane Sandy provided scenes of devastation and awe all along the east coast of North America. The massive storm, also referred to as Superstorm Sandy and Frankenstorm, is the largest Atlantic hurricane on record with winds spanning 1,100 miles (1,800 km). Power outages now stand at more than 5.6 million homes and businesses (down from a peak of 8.5 million). Early calculations put the damages at a minimum of $20 to $25 billion. This would place it as one of the top five most destructive hurricanes on record. The storm killed at least 74 people in the United States.


  • October 22 - Sandy developed from a tropical wave in the western Caribbean Sea to a tropical depression, which strengthened into a tropical storm.
  • October 24 - Sandy was upgraded to a hurricane, shortly before making landfall in Jamaica.
  • October 25 - Upon moving farther north, Sandy re-entered water and made its second landfall in Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane. During the late evening of October 25, Sandy weakened to Category 1.
  • October 26 - The storm traveled north through the Bahamas. Sandy began to show some characteristics of both tropical and extratropical cyclones.
  • October 27 - Sandy briefly weakened to a tropical storm in the early morning hours. It then re-strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane later that morning.
  • October 28 - Evacuations ordered in parts of lower Manhattan, sections of Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey and Atlantic City. Airlines cancel more than 7000 flights.
  • October 29 - Just before 8:00, Sandy turned to the north-northwest and started to make its expected approach towards the U.S. coast. At 19:00 Sandy was declared a post-tropical cyclone maintaining Category 1 strength. Sandy made its final landfall 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Atlantic City, New Jersey at about 20:00 that evening. The cyclone brought a destructive storm surge to New York City flooding numerous streets, tunnels and subway lines in Lower Manhattan and other areas of the city and cutting off electricity in many parts of the city and its suburbs.

Affected Areas

Hurricane Sandy affected the Caribbean, Bahamas, United States, Bermuda, and Canada. The New York Daily News reports on the state by state damage.


Widespread damage to homes on Long Island Sound.
Deaths: 3
Power outages: 378,000 (down from a peak of more than 620,000)


Some southern coastal areas remain underwater, but officials say the damage is far less than anticipated. Emergency shelters closed.
Power outages: 1,700 (down from more than 45,000)


As much as a foot of snow fell in higher elevations of Appalachian Kentucky.


Port of Portland reopened, but ocean conditions remained dangerous with high winds. Amtrak's Downeaster resumed service.
Power outages: 3,500 (down from more than 90,000)


Eastern Maryland cleaned up from storm surge, while western Maryland dealt with as much as 29 inches of snow. Dueling disasters are straining emergency resources.
Deaths: 3
Power outages: 33,600 (down from 290,000)


Continued cleanup from fallen trees and damage to homes and businesses, but relief that storm wasn't worse. Many schools remained closed.
Power outages: 46,000 (down from 400,000)


Cargo shipping on the Great Lakes resumed after waves of up to 16 feet subsided.
Power outages: 35,000 (down from 154,000)

New Hampshire

Some schools and day care centers remained closed. Trick or treating postponed until Sunday.
Deaths: 1
Power outages: 40,000 (down from 210,000)

New Jersey

Trick or treating postponing until Monday. Fires that destroyed several homes in a shore town rekindled, fueled by natural gas. National Guard arrived to evacuate residents of Hoboken and distribute supplies. Storm renewed debate about whether to rebuild shoreline sand dunes.
Deaths: 14
Power outages: 2.1 million (down from 2.7 million)

New York

Traffic choked city streets as residents tried to return to work in a New York City whose subway system remained crippled. Schools closed all week. Two of three major airports in metropolitan area re-opened with limited flights. Limited commuter rail service resumed and limited subway service is resuming Thursday. Utilities say it could be days before power is fully restored in the city and on Long Island. Deaths: 30, including 22 in New York City.
Power outages: 1.9 million (down from 2.2 million)

North Carolina

The search continued off the coast for the captain of a tall ship that sank as Sandy headed north. Parts of western North Carolina saw continued snow.
Deaths: 2


High winds uprooted trees in northern Ohio. Schools closed and major commuter arteries along Lake Erie flooded.
Deaths: 2
Power outages: 160,000 (down from more than 250,000)


The core of Sandy made its way north through western Pennsylvania into western New York, causing wind and flooding that closed roads.
Deaths: 11
Power outages: 612,000 (down from 1.2 million)

Rhode Island

Residents may not be able to return to their homes for another day in some coastal communities amid power outages and impassible roads. Some schools reopened while others remained close.
Power outages: About 48,000 (down from more than 122,000)


A route across the Smoky Mountains closed as heavy, wet snow accumulated to as much as 2 feet.


Winds knocked down trees and power lines, and schools were closed, but damage was not as severe as feared in a state still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene.
Power outages: 3,550 (down from more than 10,000)


Navy sending three Virginia-based ships toward the Northeast in case they're needed to help with storm response. Utilities brought in crews to help restore power after high winds and snow.
Deaths: 2
Power outages: About 29,000 (down from more than 180,000)

Washington D.C.

Federal and local governments asked people to return to work Wednesday, and transit systems resumed full service. The National Mall reopened.
Power outages: 70 (down from 25,000)

West Virginia

Some areas were buried under more than a foot of snow. Eight buildings in Nicholas County - an apartment complex, a grocery store, two convenience stores, a hardwood plant and three homes - collapsed under the weight of heavy snow, but no injuries were reported.
Deaths: 6
Power outages: 224,000 (down from about 271,000)

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Alternate News Sources

The storm has been covered in depth from every major news source, but some of the most interesting coverage has come from alternate sources.

  • Gawker, a New York City based blog that was shut down by the storm has erected an tumblr featuring scenes of the storm, pictures of the flooding, and some of the strangest characters of the storm.
  • Instagram account nygovcuomo, the official Instagram account for the New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, has been showing pictures of the city's damage and repairs.
  • Late night talk show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, took an unusual turn as the audience was sent home, but the show went on.


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Expat Evacuation



1 year after Hurricane Sandy repairs are still underway to correct the damage of the superstorm. This was the 2nd costliest storm since 1990 with an estimated 50 billion dollars worth of damage. Over 650,000 accomodations were damaged with many people still displaced from their homes a year later. 

Among the many interesting projects concerned with the re-build is Rebuild by Design. Working in partnership with Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, this unique competition is asking the world’s most talented design professionals to envision solutions in repairing the damage.

Slowly, the area is coming back to life.


What projects have you heard about? How can you support the recovery?



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