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article imageAnother Superstorm Sandy is unlikely

By Tim Sandle     Sep 11, 2013 in Environment
Research suggests that the unusual atmospheric circumstances that allowed Hurricane Sandy to slam directly into New Jersey could become even rarer in the future.
Whilst the new study does not address whether Atlantic hurricanes will change in frequency or intensity, the findings do indicate that predicted climate conditions should steer more storms away from the East Coast.
Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. Classified as the eighteenth named storm, tenth hurricane and second major hurricane of the year, Sandy was a Category 3 storm at its peak intensity when it made landfall in Cuba.
Hurricane Sandy was unusual not only for its level of destruction, but also for the pattern of its movement. This is because most North Atlantic hurricanes travel roughly parallel to the East Coast and make landfall approaching from the south. The October 2012 storm was unusual because it took a left turn and approached from the east, smacking into New Jersey at nearly a right angle. Sandy’s nearly perpendicular angle to the shore intensified its destructive storm surge.
Several atmospheric conditions converged to drive Sandy down its odd path and these conditions are unlikely to re-occur in the foreseeable future, according to scientists at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Indeed under current climate conditions, the researchers argue that hurricanes like Sandy that hit New Jersey at a right angle will occur as infrequently as on average once every 700 years.
This prediction comes from a research paper published in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper is titled “Model projections of atmospheric steering of Sandy-like superstorms.”
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