Hurricane Sandy, also referred to as super-storm Sandy, was one of the fiercest and most damaging natural events in recent memory. What was classified as a tropical storm in its initial phase developed into a hurricane, the deadliest one in 2012 and the second costliest one in the history of United States.
Philadelphia largely escaped severe water damage, but New Jersey was not so lucky.
Hurricane Sandy, a Category 3 storm, was the largest Atlantic hurricane by its diameter. Water damage caused to homes and businesses by hurricane Sandy was to the tune of more than $68 billion and there were more than 233 people dead in eight countries. Sandy developed on October 22, 2012, in western Caribbean Sea and it made its first landfall in Jamaica as a category 2 hurricane. On October 24 when it made landfall in Cuba, it was a category 3 hurricane. With its peak winds recording 115 miles per hour and after ten days of havoc, Sandy dissipated on November 2, 2012.
The water damage caused to homes and businesses by hurricane Sandy spread across 24 states. The eastern seaboard was worst hit, the entire region from Florida to Maine. The Appalachian Mountains, Wisconsin and Michigan were also exposed to severe damage. New Jersey and New York were also among the substantially affected states. On October 29, New York City was flooded, subway lines and tunnels submerged, power cut all around the city and the damage was expansive.
United States was not the only country to face the wrath of the hurricane. 70% of Jamaican residents were left without electricity. While the casualties were minimum with only one being reported killed the damage to property and infrastructure was massive. Jamaica recorded damages in excess of $100 million. In Haiti, more than 54 people were killed and a staggering two hundred thousand people were left homeless. The damages in Cuba were reportedly worth $2 billion. Bahamas suffered damages scaling up to $700 million. Damages reported in Canada amounted to $100 million, predominantly in Quebec and Ontario.
One of the reasons why the casualties were relatively contained is the preparation that federal and state agencies took. Preparations were on a war-footing and that made many lives invulnerable. But what could not be prevented was water damage. More than 650,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the United States. Water Damage cleanup and restoration in New Jersey was a huge job. Many homes and businesses have been restored and salvaged since but the long term impact is yet to be ascertained. Water damage isn’t just immediate but there is secondary water damage as well and the environment impact is still being assessed.