National Climate Report - October 2012
Sandy Storm Surge & Wind Summary

« National Climate Report - October 2012

Sandy Storm Surge & Wind Summary

Post-tropical storm Sandy packed a punch as it came ashore near Atlantic City, NJ on the evening of October 29. The timing of landfall near high astronomical tide and the large size of the storm generated many impacts across the eastern third of the U.S. Select storm surge statistics in addition to some of the highest peak wind speeds recorded during this storm are highlighted on this page. All data are preliminary unless noted otherwise.

Storm Surge Summary:

Sandy's 9-foot storm surge in New York City coincided with the approximate time of high astronomical tide creating a record shattering tidal maximum the evening of October 29 of 13.88 feet at The Battery in New York City Harbor. The previous high tide record of 11.20 feet was set during the great hurricane of 1821. As a result, extensive flooding occurred across some of the more vulnerable locations in Manhattan and other New York City boroughs, causing subways and tunnels to flood. Water was chest high on the streets in Queens as firefighters attempted to rescue residents from a neighborhood of homes which were engulfed by flames.

tide height measured at The Battery in New York City Harbor on October 29, 2012

Storm surge at the Delaware River in Philadelphia crested at 10.62 feet early on October 30, breaking the previous record of 10.50 feet set in November 1950 and tied in April 2011. The Delaware River usually doesn't flood due to tidal surges, but the combination of storm runoff, high astronomical tide and Sandy's record low pressure traversing the region just after landfall all contributed to this record breaking flood.

tide height measured at the Delaware River in Philadelphia on October 30, 2012

High tide in Atlantic City, NJ ripped up piers on the shore and caused extensive flooding downtown, where knee-deep water was reported. Notable high tides across the Northeast are listed in the table below.

The following locations reported flooding which resulted from exceptionally high tides.
LocationTidal CrestDetails
Kings Point, NY14.31 feet~12.5 feet above average
The Battery in New York City Harbor, NY13.88 feet~7 feet above flood stage
New Haven, CT12.30 feet~9 feet above average
Delaware River in Philadelphia, PA10.62 feet~2.4 feet above flood stage
Quonset Point, RI7.22 feet
Atlantic City, NJ8.90 feet
Delaware City, DE9.74 feet

Wind Summary:

Post-tropical storm Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, NJ around 8pm on October 29 with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. Unlike many landfalling systems, Sandy was exceptionally large and impacts were felt from Georgia to Lake Michigan and throughout the eastern U.S. and into New England. Storm warnings were issued as far west as southern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Waves generated by strong winds measured more than 21 feet high at a southern Lake Michigan buoy; the second highest waves on record in Lake Michigan.

Peak wind gusts measured from Michigan to the East Coast were near to or exceeded hurricane strength.
LocationPeak Wind Gust
Harrisville, MI60 mph
Port Sanilac, MI65 mph
Fort Gratiot, MI75 mph
Allentown, PA81 mph
Highland Beach MD79 mph
Chester Gap, VA79 mph
Sandy Hook, NJ tide gauge87 mph
Dennisville, NJ81 mph
Montclair, NJ88 mph
JFK Airport, NY79 mph
Eatons Neck, NY94 mph
Madison, CT85 mph
Wellfleet, MA81 mph
Mount Mansfield, VT72 mph

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Climate Report for October 2012, published online November 2012, retrieved on September 23, 2019 from