Massive Flooding Is the 'Worst Case Scenario'

Rain, high tides, giant waves could drench eastern seaboard

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Oct 28, 2012 3:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – The projected storm surge from Hurricane Sandy is a "worst case scenario" with devastating waves and tides predicted for the highly populated New York City metro area, government forecasters said today. The more they look, the more the experts worry about the water—which usually kills and does more damage than winds in hurricanes. In this case, seas will be amped up by giant waves and full-moon-powered high tides. That will combine with drenching rains, triggering inland flooding as the hurricane merges with a winter storm system that will worsen it and hold it in place for days.

Given Sandy's due east-to-west track into New Jersey, that puts the worst of the storm surge just north in New York City, Long Island, and Northern New Jersey, said one expert. Another said Hurricane Sandy's size means some coastal parts of New York and New Jersey may see water rise from 6 to 11 feet above ground from surge and waves, while the rest of the coast north of Virginia can expect 4 to 8 feet of surge. One federal agency issued flood watches as far inland as most of Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio.

Jenny Lind and her dog Greta run away from a wave that comes up the beach as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Ocean City, Md.   (Alex Brandon)
A car goes through the high water as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Ocean City, Md.   (Alex Brandon)
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