A Video Showing the Life and Death of Sandy

Here is a view of Sandy's life from above. It was recorded by NASA's GOES-13 Satellite. It begins on October 23, when Tropical Depression 18 morphed into Tropical Storm Sandy. Before that, on October 22, at roughly 11:00 a.m., about 320 miles southwest of Kingston, Jamaica, a hot towering rain cloud that rose roughly nine miles above the ocean formed into a more organized Tropical Depression 18, which generated winds of 30mph. Just six hours later, it became a tropical storm and picked up the name Sandy as it moved toward Jamaica at 3mph while generating winds of 45mph. The next day, Sandy's winds picked up to 80mph and she started growing.

By October 25, Sandy had become a Category II hurricane that blew sustained winds of 105mph—tropical force winds extended more than 205 miles from her center. As she moved over the Caribbean, she caused more than 70 deaths, and left more than 18,000 people homeless in Haiti. On October 25, NASA noted that high pressure moving clockwise over New England might push Sandy into the Mid-Atlantic as a cold front moved in from the west. By October 26, as she passed over the Bahamas, the tone became more serious as her potential to become a gigantic freak superstorm became more obvious. She was dubbed the "Bride of Frankenstorm."

The predictions rang true, but the nickname didn't stick. Sandy became wedged between a cold front over the Appalachians and a static high pressure mass over maritime Canada. Her winds died down, but she grew in size. She was blocked from moving out into the ocean and instead barreled into the East Coast near Atlantic City, New Jersey, at roughly 8 p.m. on October 29 as a Category II hurricane with sustained winds of 80mph. She continued on as a nor'easter and caused blizzards, rain, and high winds over much of the country, leaving billions of dollars of damage and more than 70 deaths in her wake. As the storm dissipates—it's now a low pressure system over Canadathe death toll continues to rise.

—Joe Spring

Filed To: Science / Nature
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