Monday, October 29, 2012

Catastrophic Storm Surge Pounds Northeast

Storm surge levels in The Battery, or southern region of Lower Manhattan, have exceeded nine feet this evening. Storm tide (surge + tide) levels are approaching 14 feet, which means water has almost certainly flooded Lower Manhattan. Source: NOAA Tides and Currents

Surge levels at King's Point exceeded 12 feet earlier this evening. Fortunately the peak surge arrived near low tide. Although surge levels are slowly falling, high tide is approaching, which is keeping the total water level over 13 feet. These levels mean flooding is likely occurring over portions of northern and northeastern NYC. Source: NOAA Tides and Currents

Sandy's catastrophic storm surge has arrived along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Coast. A brief update on water levels:

1. Water levels in The Battery are 13.81 feet above Mean Lower Low Water (a datum over which we measure surge levels.) This is more than nine feet above normal tide levels for this evening, and may move Sandy's surge into first place all time for this location. However, these data must be adjusted for tides and datums, then compared on equal footing with other storms.

2. Storm surge levels exceeded 12 feet at King's Point, on the southwest portion of Long Island Sound. This is a tremendous surge level for this area, as Sandy pushed water from E to W through the Sound. This likely flooded portions of New York City, including the eastern Bronx.

3. Winds in the New York metro area have shifted more towards the south, which has increased surge levels near The Battery but enabled surge levels to drop a bit at King's Point.

Water levels overnight will remain extremely localized, but will likely be highest in areas such as Northern NJ, The Battery and portions of NYC exposed by water to the south and southeast, as well as the south coast of Long Island. Strong southerly winds will also make it difficult for excess water to drain out of Long Island Sound.

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