November 3, 2012 - Hurricane Sandy (18L) off the eastern United States

Hurricane Sandy (18L) off the eastern United States

On October 28, 2012 Hurricane Sandy was a sprawling super storm, with an extent of about 2,000 miles. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer captured this true-color image at 16:00 UTC (12:00 noon EDT) on that same day.

Although a relatively gentle Category 1 hurricane at this time, with its eye still well out to sea, the broad rain bands already covered the East Coast of the United States from South Carolina to Maine, and inland as far as Michigan, bringing the first of what would become torrential downpours and kicking up dangerous surf along the eastern seaboard.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT, on October 28, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Sandy’s maximum sustained one-minute winds were 75 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 175 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extended outward to 520 miles from the center of the storm.

During the morning of October 28, the pressure dropped to 951 millibars and an eye wall formed, both signs of intensification. Although still a Category 1 storm, Sandy’s winds picked up by the morning of October 29, as the eye neared the coast. On Oct. 29 at 5:00 a.m. EDT the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that the center of Hurricane Sandy was located about 410 miles east southeast of Washington, D.C, and moving north at 15 mph. Maximum sustained winds were now near 85 mph. By 8:00 a.m. NHC reported tropical storm force winds were occurring along the coasts of southern New Jersey, Delaware and eastern Virginia, extending as far inland as the central and southern Chesapeake Bay. Local reports gave Sandy’s one-minute sustained winds as high as 92 mph during the afternoon.

By the evening of October 29, Sandy had lost tropical characteristics, but not her strength or fury. According to the NHC, Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy had winds of 85 mph (140 km/h) just before landfall. According to surface, radar and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft data, Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey around 8:00 p.m. EDT on October 29, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 km/h).

Hurricane Sandy’s effects were felt in at least 24 states in the US, bringing tropical storm force winds from Florida to Maine, high storm surges along the coastal states, and severe snow to West Virginia, western Maryland, and other inland regions. The storm surge in New York City and New Jersey brought severe destruction, flooding streets, tunnels, subway lines and cutting power to millions of residences and businesses.

According to NBC News on November 2, the death toll in the United States from Sandy rose to 100, and the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, warned that there could be more fatalities. The death toll in New York alone, the nation’s largest city, stands at 40 souls. The storm killed at least 69 people in the Caribbean – 54 in Haiti and 11 in Cuba – before ravaging the United States.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 10/28/2012
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC