NEW YORK (TIP): Hurricane Sandy will be remembered as one of the biggest in the history of the states located North of Washington D.C. It was eight hundred miles long and four hundred miles wide. The winds were gusting at 90 to 115 miles per hour, which is equal to 150 to 190 kilometers. Unprecedented rainfall ranging from 8 inches upwards was wreaking havoc with the communities falling in its unexpected route. The winds shattered doors and windows of several homes and blew off many roofs.
It originated in the warm Caribbean Islands (West Indies) and its cyclonic rains took 69 lives in the tropical archipelago. Such storms, of smaller proportions have been hitting the Caribbean Islands and America before too, but the dimensions have never been so massive and these storms have never made landfall as far North as New Jersey.was not so much in the area of its eye. The worst damage was within a radius of hundred to two hundred miles around the eye.
This circular path of devastation included entire New Jersey and Long Island area of New York. Some areas of New York city, including Staten Island, Queens and Lower Manhattan were hit hard. The full moon high tides in the Hudson and the East River inundated the low lying areas. The hundred year tidal elevation in coastal New Jersey ranges between ten and twelve feet, but the tidal surges of this storm exceeded those figures by several feet. As a result, there were massive power outages and some fires in the flooded regions. Days after the storm, a lot of communities all over New York and New Jersey are still without electricity. More than a hundred deaths have been confirmed so far. Some fatalities are still being found in houses. The worst property and infrastructure damages occurred in New Jersey. But New York suffered the highest death toll, after 9/11.
There are hundreds of barrier islands in New Jersey. These barrier islands are a natural protection for the hinterland of the state. There are small bushes, wild grass and dwarf trees on these islands. During the coastal storms and Nor-Easters, the vegetation gets destroyed, but roots stay and the lost vegetation comes back. Before the European immigrants arrived in this country, these islands were practically uninhabited. Some of the adventurous Red Indians used to fish on these beauties during the day, but used to return home by nightfall. But the modern days Americans built communities with all modern facilities on some of these islands. During this hurricane, these barrier islands suffered the brunt of the fury. Some were wiped out in entirety and some were badly obliterated. It will be a gigantic task to restore normalcy on these islands. Some may have to be abandoned.
Hurricane Sandy has done extensive damage to vital installations and properties in all states. Most heavily impacted municipalities are in the coastal regions of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York. On the first day, the financial losses have been roughly assessed at thirty five billion dollars. By now the losses have been revised to put the final figure at well past one hundred billion dollar mark. When final figures are tallied, the figures may increase substantially. This impact of the unprecedented storm is going to be harsh on the insurance companies. Most of them will ask for increased home insurance costs from their customers, when the next premium paying time comes. The FEMA has been very helpful with its generous financial and logistics help and so was the U.S. Army. Eight thousand electric experts from other states, along with their massive equipment, were in New Jersey alone. They have been working day and night to restore power in all affected states. Giant C-130 cargo planes have transported heavy electrical equipment from far flung areas like California.
Considering massive damage to the properties and installations, the restoration of all electricity and other services shall need billions of dollars of new expenditure. Damaged home appliances, furniture, carpets and fittings shall have to be replaced. Hundreds of thousands of permanent gas operated generators shall have to be installed. Indubitably, Sandy has not only been the biggest storm in tears but also one of the most expensive.