Bad news, folks. Although she completely clobbered the East Coast in 2012, Sandy was not the worst storm to ever hit the area and it looks like it’s not going to be the last. According to a new report conducted by Swiss Re, there is a very real possibility that another, much larger storm could cause 50% more damage to New York and New Jersey in the future.
By the time Hurricane Sandy came blasting into New Jersey, the category 3 storm had already been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. Although perhaps a lesser strength at that point, Sandy’s wide berth and extreme surge made it a deadly weapon against an already frail infrastructure.
However, it has come to light that Sandy was not the most powerful storm to hit the Northern East Coast. A recent study released by Swiss Re discovered that a much larger storm, the Norfolk Long Island Hurricane, hit the same area back in 1821. The study concludes that if the same storm were to hit the region today, it would cause much more damage than Sandy.
“Hurricane Sandy was obviously a terrible event for the Northeast United States, but it really was not the worst-case scenario,” said Dr. Megan Linkin, a natural hazards expert for Swiss Re and the author of the report. “The East Coast is not immune to a hurricane that brings a Sandy-like surge and extreme winds over a large area.”
Although today’s advanced technology would be able to foresee a terrible storm like the Norfolk Long Island Hurricane and help us prepare accordingly, there would be a greater risk to the population and infrastructure if a storm of similar strength were to hit the upper East Coast again. Due to a much higher population, more buildings and elevated sea levels, a weather event of similar power would see storm surges of up to 12 feet at the southern tip of Manhattan, potentially causing loss of life and massive damage to the city. In fact, the reports estimates that a storm similar to the Norfolk Long Island would do 50% more economic damage than Sandy, with losses up to $107 billion.
Via Huffington Post