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Superstorm Sandy's Destruction, By the Numbers

Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy as seen from space Photo: NOAA GOES-13

When Hurricane Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, around 8 p.m. last night, it lived up to the deadly reputation forecasters feared, and the death toll from the storm has continued to rise today. NOAA's GOES-13 satellite captured this picture of Sandy as a post tropical cyclone swirling over the eastern half of the United States at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning. In the image, the extratropical cyclone's center is about 90 miles west of Philadelphia. Strong winds, heavy precipitation, and cold weather will continue to cause problems as the superstorm moves west. Here's a breakdown of some of Sandy's devastating effects in the past 24 hours, by the numbers.

38: Deaths in the U.S. tied to the storm. When those fatalities are added to the 66 deaths recorded in the Caribbean, the total is 104. "Total Death Toll at 38" The New York Times

$20,000,000,000: Expected minimum cost of damage inflicted by the storm. "Hurricane Sandy Threatens $20 Billion in Economic Damage" Bloomberg News

946MB: Central pressure reading as the storm made landfall. It's the second lowest reading recorded for a storm that hit the Northeastern United States. The record is held by the 1938 Great New England Hurricane, which had a reading of 941mb. "Superstorm Sandy Managed to Live Up to the Hype," University of Miami Rosenstiehl School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

80MPH: Maximum sustained wind speed as Sandy made landfall. "Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy," National Hurricane Center

32.5: Maximum wave height, in feet, measured by the buoys at the entrance of New York Harbor. "Superstorm Sandy Managed to Live Up to the Hype," University of Miami Rosenstiehl School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

9: Height of storm surge, in feet, that rode into New York City on Tuesday night's high tide. "Superstorm Sandy Deals a Devastating Blow to the U.S." Weather Underground

13.88: Maximum peak water level, in feet, recorded in Battery Park City, which is 2.8 feet higher than the previous water level recorded in 1821. "Superstorm Sandy Managed to Live Up to the Hype," University of Miami Rosenstiehl School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

26: Snowfall, in inches, recorded at Redhouse, Maryland, at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. "Sandy: Five Latest Developments," Weather.com

8,100,000: People without power in seven states. "East Coast Power Outages From Hurricane Sandy Reach 8.1 million," Reuters

65MPH: Maximum speed of sustained winds today as the storm moves west through Pennsylvania and affects people from Georgia to Maine to Michigan. "Vast Area, From Georgia to Maine, in Harm’s Way," The New York Times

When a tropical storm or hurricane does enough damage and causes fatalities, the National Weather Service retires its name. The storms are named alphabetically in the order they appear during the hurricane season, with later storms starting with consonants that appear later in the alphabet. "Sandy will certainly be a storm for the record books, and will also end up being a retired name," University of Miami scientist Brian McNoldy said in a post today. "Going back to 1953, the only storms so late in the alphabet to be retired were Stan (2005), Wilma (2005), and Tomas (2010)."

—Joe Spring

Filed To: Science / Nature
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