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Essay On Hurricane Sandy

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Introduction

When Hurricane Sandy hit shore in 2012 it left behind a path of debris and destruction that the coastal communities of New Jersey and New York were not adequately prepared for. Starting as a tropical cyclone in the Caribbean, Sandy made its way up the Atlantic coast before making a sharp turn for the densely populated northeast. Unlike other hurricanes in the region, Sandy maintained momentum as it moved north and met unusually warm waters that helped fuel the storm’s enormous power. It made landfall during a high tide that creating record storm surges, that resulted flooding and massive damage. On its journey, the the hurricane accumulated energy as it merged with a low-pressure system coming from the west. These conditions created the vicious weather system that dumped rain and snow across the region. The destruction costs were among the highest in history, and more than a year later, communities are still working to recover. To many, Sandy was a wake-up call, creating a new sense of urgency to make cities and neighborhoods resilient in the face of natural disasters. Storms are an inevitable part of living on the coast, but the need for long-term recovery and preparation for the future is growing due to the threat of climate change.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

While it is hard to directly connect Hurricane Sandy to global warming, it is clear that warmer waters and increased sea level contributed to the severity of the storm. Higher sea levels increase the chance that hurricane winds will bring more water on land and storm surges that reach further inland. The Atlantic region is already experiencing sea level rise, and globally this trend is expected to continue. Ocean temperatures are also on the rise, an...

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...ments. Geospatial technologies, such as LiDAR, can assist in mapping the flood vulnerability of particular areas. There is a wealth of information from the federal agencies, such as flood hazard maps developed by FEMA and sea level rise calculators. This information can also be used proactively to identify locations where restoration could be most effective and to discourage development in areas that still have their natural coastlines in tact. In some cases, structures can be updated to be more hurricane and flood proof by as using stronger materials and building at higher elevations. Buildings can also be designed to allow flooding to occur with minimal damage. Another alternative is to actually relocating people and buildings in the most high-risk areas. This will be exceedingly difficult as population increases and demand for coastal development is on the rise.
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