Sandy: 5 scary statistics

2012-10-29 16:06

Cape Town - Earlier today Table Mountain cableway reported that a wind speed of 122 km/h had been recorded at the station on top of the mountain, which the operations manager stated was the strongest he had experienced in his service of 22 years.

However, this is hardly anything compared to the monster storm that's steadily gathering momentum and heading for the East Coast of the US. Hurricane Sandy aka Frankenstorm has sent residents of New York, Washington DC and everywhere in between into a bit of a panic, as public transport has been suspended, shop shelves emptied and areas evacuated.

While this may seem a bit extreme to those on the outside, Harry J Enten from The Guardian has rounded up 10 statistics that show just how scary this storm is shaping up to be. 

1. The angle - By the time most storms find themselves in the mid-Atlantic region, they're way out to sea and hardly affect terra firma. However, in Sandy's case, a huge pressure is forcing it to make a 65 degree turn up the southern New Jersey latitude and then a 90 degree right turn onto land. 

2. Surge - A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system and this is the biggest fear for the New York City area. They're expecting Sandy to whip up anything between 6- and 12-feet, which explains the evacuations. The greatest storm surge in modern history at Battery Park was 10.5 feet in 1960

3. 128km/h winds - With sustained winds of about 80km/hour and gusts reaching up to 128km/hour in New York city, massive power outages over a vast area can be expected. 

4. Land won't break the storm - In most cases, tropical storms will start diminishing as soon as they hit land, however Sandy is expected to keep raging ahead well into Wednesday, which is a full 36-hours after it is first expected to hit land tonight.

5. Millions affected - Apart from the 3000 or so flights that have been grounded, about 60million people who live in these areas will be affected in some way. This is about 20% of the US population. 

For the other scary statistics, check out The Guardian article

Luis Fernandes, a meteorologist at eNCA explained that there is no direct link between severe weather systems occurring in the US and here in South Africa. "At this time of the year we are coming to the end of the Atlantic hurricane season, and as we all know sometimes these storms affect the eastern parts of the USA," he said, adding that wind gusts of more than 100km/h are also not uncommon in the Cape Peninsula during summer and spring.

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