Hurricane Sandy's track, or storm path, will likely help generate a catastrophic storm surge along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Coast Monday and Tuesday, including the New York City area. This storm is taking an unprecedented track, as it turns to the northwest and will make landfall at a more perpendicular angle to the coast, unlike most storms, which travel along the coast. The graphics above show the difference between Sandy and "typical" Mid-Atlantic hurricanes.
The Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP) identified surge and storm tide levels in other destructive hurricanes that impacted New York City (see earlier blog post). All of these previous storms took a track "along the coast," which means Sandy's path, and storm surge, may be unprecedented.
All interests from the Delmarva Pensinsula to Cape Cod should monitor this storm closely. The largest and most destructive surge will likely occur to the north of landfall, in Northern New Jersey, the New York City area, Long Island and Long Island Sound. Keep in mind that Sandy is a very large storm, so surge levels will rise rapidly long before the storm makes landfall, likely inundating evacuation routes by early Monday.