Hurricane Sandy Update: NYC Flooding Already Worse Than Irene; Could The City Be Completely Underwater?

By Staff Writer on October 29, 2012 11:03 AM EDT

Hurricane
Hurricane Sandy flooding is already worse than Hurricane Irene (Photo: Creative Commons)

Hurricane Sandy is barreling down on the East Coast, and residents are comparing it to Hurricane Irene, which struck the area last year. Hurricane Sandy has brought incredibly strong storm surges that are already worse than Hurricane Irene, despite the fact that the worst is yet to come.

"The combination of an extremely dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters," the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

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Storm surges in and around Manhattan from Hurricane Sandy are expected to reach 11 feet or higher -- a record for the city. Hurricane Irene brought storm surges that maxed out at approximately 4 feet.

"With the high tide occurring tomorrow night, we are looking at many locations approaching record levels of storm surge," Sean Potter, National Weather Service spokesperson, told LiveScience.

A full moon on Monday may exacerbate the storm surges from Hurricane Sandy, as the moon will cause high tide to be 20 percent higher than normal. In addition, the sheer length of time the storm will stay in the area will bring record flooding.

"We'll still see tropical storm-force winds occurring for 24-36 hours starting into tomorrow morning going into Tuesday afternoon," Potter told LiveScience. "That's one thing that really sets this storm apart compared to Hurricane Irene."

The U.S. Geological Survey and the NOAA are both monitoring Hurricane Sandy closely. The organizations are attaching 150 storm surge sensors on poles throughout the Northeast to track wind gusts, flooding and other aspects of Hurricane Sandy in real time. These results, they said, will help plan for future disasters.

"With Sandy we have the opportunity to test and improve predictive models of coastal zone impact based on what we previously learned," USGS director Marcia Hutt said in a press release.

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