Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Timing Is Everything

Unfortunately, it was a worst-case scenario in upper and lower New York Bay last night with regards to storm surge.  As can be seen in the time trace of water levels at The Battery, the peak storm surge (indicated by green line) coincided with high tide, yielding an all time record water level of 13.88 ft above mean lower low water (roughly mean low tide) at 9:24 PM EDT, greatly eclipsing the former record, which is reported to be 10.5 feet during Hurricane Donna in 1960.

Source: National Data Buoy Center
Contributing to this surge was a veering of the wind during and following the landfall of the low center over southern New Jersey.  The time series below, which ends at 900 PM EDT, shows how the wind veered from NNE to ESE at Newark Airport in the five hours preceding peak water levels.

Source: MesoWest
The surface plot for 900 PM EDT shows strong ESE to SE flow streaming toward the New York Bight and adjoining bays and waterways of northern New Jersey and NYC.

SuperFrankenStorm Sandy was an exceptional event, made all the more exceptional by unfortunate timing.  We can only hope now that the recovery effort goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment